Durbin Congratulates Stan "The Man" Musial on Presidential Medal of Freedom

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today offered his heartfelt congratulations to Baseball Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial for being chosen by President Obama to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Musial, widely recognized as one of the greatest baseball players in history, dedicated 22 years to the game of baseball, served in the Navy during World War II and has dedicated the rest of his life to public service and the St. Louis community.


“As a young kid in East St. Louis my most prized possession was my first baseball glove: a Stan Musial Rawlings Special. I rubbed that leather glove with Gloveoleum until I was the only one who could still see his name burned in the leather. I know if I would dig deep in my closet I could still find that Musial glove,” said Durbin. “It is rare in history to find such a public person without a detractor. On the field and off, Stan Musial was always a gentleman, always a champion.”


The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award bestowed by the President of the United States to recognize individuals who have made an exception contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Only 257 Americans have received this honor.


After playing 22 seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963, Musial was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. Over that time, he compiled a lifetime batting average of .331, with 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and 1,951 RBIs appearing in 23 World Series games and 24 All-Star Games. He is one of only three players to have run over 6,000 bases in his career, the other two being Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.


“A sign of his great sportsmanship, Stan was never once ejected during his career spanning more than 3,000 games. Both in and out of a Cardinal uniform, Stan exemplifies the values of sportsmanship, discipline, hard work, grace, consistency, excellence and humility. He is truly deserving of a Medal of Freedom.”


Musial served in the United States Navy during World War II, but his service to our nation did not end there. From 1964 to 1967, he served as a Consultant to President Lyndon Johnson on his Council on Physical Fitness. In that position he was able to encourage better fitness among Americans through sports and exercise.


Proud of his Polish-American heritage, Musial has shared his love of baseball with Poland both before and after the fall of Communism. He has received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit. Back in the United States, Musial has dedicated himself to his community and public service. He has served as a board member for the United Service Organizations (USO), the Boy Scouts, the Senior Olympics, the Crippled Children’s Society of St. Louis and the Shelter for Children. Recently, he chaired an effort to raise more than $6 million for the renovation of the Soldier’s Memorial in St. Louis.