The greatest St. Louis Cardinal of all-time will add one more distinction to his long list of achievements. Stan Muial will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for an American civilian.
The medal is awarded to those who have had “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States or to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Musial has always been seen as a baseball icon. He was one of the greatest hitters of all-time. But he is receiving the medal for reasons that go beyond the diamond. Musial is described as baseball’s “perfect knight.” He is the ultimate gentleman, a role model who lives with great optimism and joy.
No place knows this better than St. Louis, where Musial still makes his home. He is involved in the community and has made the city proud for decades — both on and off the field.
That pride and admiration was on display this season with the “Stand for Stan” campaign, which called attention to Musial’s extraoradinary life as a baseball legend, war veteran, and outstanding citizen in an attempt to support his case for the Medal of Freedom.
“Stan the Man” batted .331 with 3,630 hits — fourth most all-time — in 22 seasons. The three-time MVP played in 24 All-Star Games, won seven batting titles in his career, and helped the Cardinals to three World Series championships in 1942, 1944, and 1946. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
Musial also served in the United States Navy during World War II, forcing him to miss the 1945 season.
The legend is the eighth baseball player to receive the award. The last was Buck O’Neil in 2005. Musial is one of 15 recipients chosen by President Barack Obama this year. The others include basketball great Bill Russell, financial genius Warren Buffett, and former president George H.W. Bush.