ST. LOUIS- Six years ago today, Stan Musial received his Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Former President Barack Obama honored the Cardinals legend saying that he was, “an icon, untarnished, a beloved pillar of the community, a gentleman you would want your kids to emulate.” The Freedom Medal recognizes those that have made contributions to either the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Stan the Man, as he is commonly known, wore the first number retired by the Cardinals franchise. At his retirement in 1963, he held 17 major league records, 29 National League marks and nine All-Star Game records. He still currently holds the record for most seasons with one club, logging 22 years, or 3,026 games, as a St. Louis Cardinal. He did all of this even missing a season during his prime to serve in the Navy.
Musial was also known as a supporter of Jackie Robinson when he broke the color barrier in baseball. Being known as a superstar in the major leagues, Musial’s support helped sway the opinions of many Americans.
Having received his award at age 90, he is known for much more than an athlete. As good of a baseball player as he was, he is known for his attitude. Then Representative William L. Clay said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he remembered going to watch Musial play with his father. Knowing him later as an adult, he said Musial was even a better citizen than he was on the diamond.
Stan, the Man, Musial passed away at 92 in 2013.