Early in the 2010 St. Louis Cardinals season, May 25 to be exact, the organization started a campaign for Stan Musial. The campaign became known as “Stand For Stan”. It was felt among the Cardinals’ organization and the many fans, that Stan should be nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For those not aware of the history of the medal, let me clue you in a bit:
- The medal was originally created in 1945 by Pres. Harry S. Truman to honor civilian service during World War II.
- The medal was revived in 1963 by then Pres. John F. Kennedy.
- Executive Order 11085 was created for the revival, allowing what amounted to a new decoration, with totally different insignia, vastly expanded purpose, and far higher prestige.
- The medal can be awarded more than once. (i.e. Colin Powell)
- The medal can be awarded posthumously. (after death, i.e. Roberto Clemente)
Stan Musial has had numerous achievements that make him well deserving of the award, both on and off the field. Stan was a 24-time All-Star from 1943 to 1963, only missing 1945 due to military service in the U.S. Navy. He won the World Series with the Cardinals three time (1942, 1944, 1946). He was a three time National League MVP (1943, 1946, 1948). In 1957, Stan won the Sportsman of the Year Award given out by Sports Illustrated and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, given to players who best exemplify Gehrig’s character and integrity both on and off the field. Stan was named to the 20th Century All-Century team and had his #6 retired by the St. Louis Cardinals. Stan was a first-ballot inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, receiving 93.2% of the vote.
Even after baseball, Stan was spreading his services best he could. From 1964-67, he served on The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, acting as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s chair and consultant to the president. As stated by Musial’s niece Laurel Grimes, he was a close personal friend of Pope John Paul II and went to Poland (Musial country of heritage) several times to institute a baseball program there in the country for youths.
With the the help of the Cardinals organization, countless fans participating in the “Stand for Stan” campaign, along with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri’s two senators Claire McCaskill and Kit Bond, plus Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois…Stan has finally gotten what he deserves. Stan is now “The Honorable Man”.
Besides Stan Musial winning the award in 2010, there have been several other baseball players to have been awarded the medal. Such players are Hank Aaron (2002), Roberto Clemente (2002), Joe DiMaggio (1977), Buck O’Neil (2006), Frank Robinson (2005), Jackie Robinson (1984), and Ted Williams (1991).
Official White House Press Release: