A man of freedom

Hall of Famer Stan Musial to be awarded nation's highest civilian honor

November 18, 2010
Stan Musial was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

United States president Barack Obama has announced that Hall of Famer Stan Musial will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation's highest civilian honor – in 2011.

Musial will receive the award at a White House ceremony along with other new medal winners including former President George H.W. Bush, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, poet Maya Angelou and Wall Street investor Warren Buffet.

Musial, who will turn 90 on Sunday, played 22 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, retiring with a then-National League record of 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and 1,951 RBI. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.

"On behalf of all Major League Baseball, I am truly thrilled that The White House has honored Stan Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom," said Major League Baseball Commissioner and Hall of Fame board member Bud Selig, "joining other legends of our game like the great Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Buck O'Neil, Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson (who have received the award)."

Musial, who won seven National League batting titles during his Cardinals career that spanned 1941-44 and 1946-63, served in the Navy in 1945 during World War II. After his career, Musial remained an iconic figure in St. Louis and throughout baseball, repeatedly demonstrating his modesty and good will through charitable work.

Musial's Cardinals locker is one of the mainstays on the second-floor timeline at the Hall of Fame, with thousands of fans a year passing in homage to one of the great ambassadors the game has ever known.