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A pleasant good morning to you from Washington D.C.

As you might imagine, it's all about Stan Musial today.

As we get ready for the Medal of Freedom ceremony, here are some warm-up pitches about Musial, his past connections to the White House, his friendships, and some sports numerology.

Musial has had a lengthy history of being involved with politics and high-level politicians. I thought it would be fun to take a look at that aspect of The Man's life, given his appearance in the East Room of the White House today to receive the Medal of Freedom...

* The Man and JFK: Musial first met the future president John Fitzgerald Kennedy in September 1959. Kennedy encountered Musial at a downtown Milwaukee hotel while campaigning in his successful quest to win the Democratic party nomination for President.

"I was standing in front of the hotel, waiting for the bus for the game," Musial once told The Sporting News. "And a man came up to me and said, 'You are Stan Musial and I'm glad to meet you. I'm Jack Kennedy.' Of course, I knew him."

"And then he said, 'You're too old to play ball and I'm too young to be president, but maybe we'll fool 'em.' And I reminded the President of that remark later when I went over to visit him at the White House, and he said he thought both us of us probably were doing a good job."

* The 1962 All-Star Game was played in Washington D.C. with President Kennedy in attendance. Musial, 41, was playing in his 22nd All-Star Game. He pinch-hit in the sixth inning and lined a single to right. Before the game, Kennedy had called Musial over to the box-seat railing to say hello and to (once again) brag about Musial's effective campaigning style in 1960. Kennedy gave Musial, wife Lillian and daughter Janet a VIP tour of the White House the next day. JFK gave Musial a PT 109 tie pin and an autographed photo. They talked baseball, with JFK asking Musial if he had a chance to break Ty Cobb's MLB record for most hits in a career. Informed that Kennedy had applauded his single the day before, Musial smiled and said, "The President is my buddy."

* I've relayed this story before, so please pardon my redundancy. But in case you missed it, acclaimed author James Michener once described a Musial visit to Nebraska on a campaign stop for JFK in '60. "In the shadows we saw several hundred silent ranchers awaiting us," Michener wrote. Michener described how a Republican-leaning crowd had given a cool reception to other celebrity campaigners. But then Musial's name was announced to the audience. According to Michener, "A low rumble arose from the crowd, and men pressed forward, dragging their boys and girls with them' to get close to an authentic American folk hero."

* Musial had an impressive '62 season, batted .330 with a .417 on-base percentage and a .508 slugging percentage at 41. The Man's age-defying production was noted by his pal in the White House. JFK sent Musial a telegram and quipped, "You made all of us believe that life really begins at 40." The friends regularly stayed in touch until Kennedy's assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. Musial was shaken by Kennedy's death. The Man hasn't had many bad days, but about 10 years ago Stan told me that Nov. 22, 1963 was probably one of the worst days of his life.

* Given Musial's obvious fondness for JFK, it's especially appropriate that he'll be honored today with Kennedy's only surviving sibling. Jean Kennedy Smith, 83, will also receive the Medal of Freedom award. She's among the 15 recipients.

* And it's worth noting that the Presidential Medal of Freedom was reestablished by JFK in 1963 after it had been discontinued by President Dwight Eisenhower. The award was originally established by President Harry S Truman in 1945. Truman, the most famous Missourian, would undoubtedly be pleased to see a St. Louis Cardinal receive this award. Truman and Musial knew each other and had many mutual friends. 

* Musial and LBJ: In the spring of 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson asked the recently retired Musial to take over as director of the National Council on Physical Fitness. Musial agreed, and succeeded former Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson, who was planning to run for the U.S. Senate. After a four-day visit to California, LBJ returned to the White House for the official swearing-in ceremony. According to Time magazine, The Man looked around a crowded cabinent room, took note of all of the smiling VIPs in the room and joked, "If I'd known I had so many friends in Washington, I might have run for office." And then Musial winked at his friend, U.S. Missouri Senator Stuart Symington.

* Musial and Richard Nixon: The 37th President was an avid sports fan who fancied himself as a baseball historian. And Nixon was, in fact, knowledgeable about the national pastime. In 1972, Nixon received a lot of attention on the sports pages of the day by choosing an all-time baseball team for each league. Nixon had immense respect for Musial that transcended The Man's backing of Kennedy in the JFK-Nixon race in 1960. (And Musial supported George McGovern in '72. I know that Musial's friend Tom Eagleton was McGovern's running mate for a brief time. But I guess The Man wasn't able to win many votes for McGovern. In retrospect, Musial backing McGovern seems funny to me.)  

At the end of a White House press conference in 1972, Nixon began chatting about baseball with reporters and named Musial as one of his favorite players. And in a comment that obviously would resonate with Cardinals fans, Nixon noted Musial's underrated status and remarked that if Musial "had played in New York, he would have been considered right there with the greatest."

In choosing the all-time team, Nixon separated it into two categories: pre-World War II and post-World War II. And Nixon placed Musial at first base on the NL's post-war team.

* In 2001, President George W. Bush honored several living Baseball Hall of Famers in a ceremony at the White House. Musial wasn't there, but "W" mentioned him anyway.

"It isn't always easy to be worthy of a kid's devotion or a teammate's trust," Bush said. "But the folks behind us tried. They were successful, and that's what made them great. Baseball isn't just in the stats, though of course, that's part of it. It isn't just the money. It really isn't who makes the Hall of Fame. As much as anything else, baseball is the style of a Willie Mays, or the determination of a Hank Aaron, or the endurance of a Mickey Mantle, the discipline of Carl Yastrzemski, the drive of Eddie Mathews, the reliability of a Kaline or a Morgan, the grace of a DiMaggio, the kindness of a Harmon Killebrew, and the class of Stan Musial, the courage of a Jackie Robinson, or the heroism of Lou Gehrig.

"My hope for the game is that these qualities will never be lost. Whatever else changes, even if the same nine innings run longer and the flyballs farther and the grass isn't always grass like it should be, those values are still what makes the boys and girls and the fans and players into legends."

* Of course, Musial met President Barack Obama at the MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis in 2009. The love shown to Musial by Cardinals fans made a lasting impression on Obama and probably played a role in the eventual decision to give The Man the medal.

As Obama said during the Fox Network's All-Star Game broadcast in 2009, "This is the national pastime," Obama. "So to go down there and meet Bob Gibson and Stan Musial and those guys, it's such a reminder of what's great about this country. You can't beat it."

* The Man will have another buddy standing with him today to receive the Medal of Freedom: Warren Buffett, the renowned investor from Omaha, Neb. Buffett and Musial have been friends for many years. At Musial's office, there's a photo of Buffett and Musial taken at Buffett's charity golf tournament many years ago. In the photo, Musial and Buffett are smiling. Buffett - one of the richest men in the world - is holding a billfold. And in Musial is playfully holding onto one half of the wallet -- as if to take it from Buffett.

At the top of the picture, Buffett wrote: "To Stan 'The Man.' A hero of mine 50 years ago - and still a hero."

And Buffet added a postscript: "P.S. Help. Send back my wallet."

* Finally, let's get to the numbers: The two greatest No. 6s in the history of American sports will be at The White House to receive the Medal of Freedom. Boston Celtics icon Bill Russell is among the 15 honorees. He wore No. 6 during his career. Musial was No. 6 for the Cardinals. Musial requires no reintroduction to this audience. But for those who need a quick history lesson on Russell: 11 NBA championship rings as a player and a coach; five-time NBA MVP; two-time NCAA men's basketball champion (at the University of San Francisco); an Olympic gold-medal winner; and the first African American to be a head coach or manager in a major U.S. professional sports league. This pair of 6s is truly remarkable. And to think that Russell could have been a St. Louis Hawk ...

I hope you enjoyed the Musial/politics history lesson.

I leave you with this: I was born 52 years ago on this day, and I have to say that of all the birthdays in my life, this one certainly is unique. A birthday at The White House? Watching Stan Musial be decorated with the most distinguished honor a civilian can receive in America? Truly a blessing.

Thanks for reading ...

- Bernie

 

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Learn more about the previous baseball players who have won the Medal of Freedom by clicking the photos below:

 
 

About the medal

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, was created by President Harry Truman on July 6, 1945. Its original purpose was to honor civilians who had played important roles in helping the U.S. win World War II.

The original executive order has been amended three times, providing the President with a greater latitude in developing a list of honorees. Today this award has a much broader base and is used by the President to recognize individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavor." This award can now be given to both civilians and those in the uniformed services, and it may be awarded posthumously. It may also be given to non-US citizens.

Records covering the recipients are spotty, especially in the early years of the award, but the number of recipients is believed to be more than 20,000.

Moe Berg • 1946

Berg, who reportedly felt embarrassed by the award and didn't deem himself worthy of it, was honored not for his modest play on the field but for his work essentially as a spy during World War II. Berg was assigned to the Secret Intelligence branch of the Office of Strategic Services in 1943 and parachuted into Yugoslavia to evaluate the various resistance groups operating against the Nazis to determine which was the strongest. His evaluations were used to help determine the amount of support and aid to give each group. Later that year, Berg was assigned to an operation whose stated purpose was to kidnap rocket and missile specialists from Italy and bring them to the United States.

DECLINED THE MEDAL

Berg declined the medal "with due respect for the spirit with which it is offered."

After Berg's death in 1972, his sister Ethel Berg received the medal on his behalf. She donated the medal to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1923BRO491299243206251.186
1926CHW411134256007690.221
1927CHW356941740044100.246
1928CHW76224255516002914253.246
1929CHW107352321017004717165.287
1930CHW2061473007150.115
1931CLE1013111000110.077
1932WSH751951646811268131.236
1933WSH40658123029450.185
1934TOT62183946710157112.251
1934WSH33865214006642.244
1934CLE29974253109170.258
1935BOS3898132850212530.286
1936BOS3912593041019260.240
1937BOS47141133631020540.255
1938BOS1012040000010.333
1939BOS1433391015230.273
CAREER663181315044171662067811712.243

LED THE LEAGUE …

While Berg never led in any offensive category, some sportswriters called him the "brainiest guy in baseball."

Joe DiMaggio • 1977

The son of Italian immigrants, DiMaggio was the consummate team player for the New York Yankees in an era (the Depression and World War II) in which cooperation was emphasized to overcome economic doldrums and global strife. In the 1940s, he was widely viewed as the most popular man in baseball and that popularity was so great that the U.S. Army would not let him go overseas during the war, for fear he would be killed or captured, and thus damage American morale. Hall of Famer DiMaggio left his mark off the field, too, opening the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., in 1953.

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 1977

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter also awarded the Medal of Freedom to:

  • Iorwith Wilbur Abel
  • John Bardeen
  • Irving Berlin
  • Norman Borlaug
  • Omar Bradley
  • Arleigh Burke
  • Alexander Calder
  • Bruce Catton
  • Ariel Durant
  • Will Durant
  • Arthur Fiedler
  • Henry J. Friendly
  • Lady Bird Johnson
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Archibald MacLeish
  • James A. Michener
  • Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Jesse Owens
  • Norman Rockwell
  • Nelson Rockefeller
  • Donald Rumsfeld
  • Jonas Salk
  • Catherine Filene Shouse
  • James D. Watson

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1936NYY13863713220644152912524394.323
1937NYY15162115121535154616764373.346
1938NYY14559912919432133214059216.324
1939NYY1204621081763263012652203.381
1940NYY132508931792893113361301.352
1941NYY13954112219343113012576134.357
1942NYY15461012318629132111468364.305
1943-45Military service (World War II)
1946NYY13250381146208259559241.290
1947NYY141534971683110209764323.315
1948NYY15359411019026113915567301.320
1949NYY762725894146146755180.346
1950NYY13952511415833103212280330.301
1951NYY11641572109224127161360.263
CAREER 1736682113902214389131361153779036930.325

LED THE LEAGUE …

HR

193746
194839

RBI

1941125
1948155

RUNS

1937151

AVG

1939.381
1940.352

Jackie Robinson • 1984 (posthumously)

From 1942-44, Robinson served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. In 1944, Robinson was arrested and court-martialed after he refused to move to the back of a segregated bus during training. He was later acquitted of the charges and received an honorable discharge. His courage and moral objection to segregation were precursors to the impact Robinson would have in major league baseball, whose color barrier he broke in 1947 when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. From the beginning of his career with the Dodgers, Robinson's will was tested. Even some of his teammates objected to having an African-American on their team. People in the crowds sometimes jeered at Robinson, and he and his family received threats. But, despite the racial abuse, Robinson persevered to have a Hall of Fame playing career before retiring when he refused to join the New York Giants, who had acquired him from the Dodgers after the 1956 season.

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 1984

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan also awarded the Medal of Freedom to:

  • Howard Baker
  • James Cagney
  • Whittaker Chambers
  • Leo Cherne
  • Cardinal Terence Cooke
  • Denton Cooley
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • Hector P. Garcia
  • Andrew Goodpaster
  • Henry M. Jackson
  • Norman Vincent Peale
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver
  • Lincoln Kirstein
  • Louis L'Amour
  • Joseph Luns
  • Carlos P. Romulo
  • Anwar El Sadat

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1947BRO1515901251753151248743629.297
1948BRO1475741081703881285573722.296
1949BRO156593122203381216124862737.342
1950BRO144518991703941481802412.328
1951BRO1535481061853371988792725.338
1952BRO14951010415717319751064024.308
1953BRO1364841091593471295743017.329
1954BRO12438662120224155963207.311
1955BRO105317518162836611812.256
1956BRO11735761981521043603212.275
CAREER 13824877947151827354137734740291197.311

LED THE LEAGUE …

AVG

1949.342

SB

194729
194937

Ted Williams • 1991

There is no telling how much more gaudy Hall of Famer Williams' statistics would have been had he not missed five prime-cut seasons to be a fighter pilot and to train pilots during World War II and the Korean War. Williams flew a total of 38 combat missions and achieved the rank of captain while serving both for the U. S. Navy and the Marine Corps. Williams wasn't always the most civil performer during his playing days but his service to his country hardly can be denied. Williams at first refused to go to the Freedom Medal ceremony because he thought he had to wear a tuxedo. He didn't have to, but Williams was asked to compromise and thus he made a rare appearance while wearing a tie.

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 1991

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush also awarded the Medal of Freedom to:

  • James Baker
  • William F. Buckley, Jr.
  • Richard Cheney
  • Don Luis A. Ferré
  • Betty Ford
  • Hanna Holborn Gray
  • Friedrich von Hayek
  • Friedrich Hayek
  • Tip O'Neill
  • Javier Perez de Cuellar
  • Colin Powell
  • Leon Sullivan
  • Russell E. Train
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • H. Norman Schwarzkopf
  • Brent Scowcroft
  • Vernon Walters
  • William Webster

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1939BOS149565131185441131145107642.327
1940BOS14456113419343142311396544.344
1941BOS14345613518533337120145272.406
1942BOS15052214118634536137145513.356
1942-46Military service (World War II)
1946BOS15051414217637838123156440.342
1947BOS15652812518140932114162470.343
1948BOS13750912418844325127126414.369
1949BOS15556615019439343159162481.343
1950BOS8933482106241289782213.317
1951BOS14853110916928430126144451.318
1952BOS610240113220.400
1952-53Military service (Korean War)
1953BOS3791173760133419100.407
1954BOS117386931332312989136320.345
1955BOS9832077114213288391242.356
1956BOS136400711382822482102390.345
1957BOS132420961632813887119430.388
1958BOS12941181135232268598491.328
1959BOS1032723269150104352270.254
1960BOS1133105698150297275411.316
CAREER 2292770617982654525715211839201970924.344

LED THE LEAGUE …

HR

194137
194236
194732
194943

RBI

1939145
1942137
1947114
1949159

AVG

1941.406
1942.356
1947.343
1948.369
1954.345
1957.388
1958.328

RUNS

1940134
1941135
1942141
1946142
1947125
1949150

Hank Aaron • 2002

Aaron, the home-run record holder for years, played first on a Negro League team, and was then signed by the Milwaukee Braves and sent to a minor league team in Jacksonville, Fla., where he was one of the first black players to break the color line in the deep South. Aaron was a quiet star and had to hold his tongue when he encountered frequent bouts with racism throughout his career, notably when he broke white star Babe Ruth's home-run mark at 715 in 1974. In his presentation, Bush said, "By steadily pursuing his calling in the face of unreasoning hatred, Hank Aaron has proven himself a great human being, as well as a great athlete." Hall of Famer Aaron later became a front office executive for the Atlanta Braves, for whom he still works.

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 2002

In 2002, President George W. Bush also awarded the Medal of Freedom to:

  • Bill Cosby
  • Plácido Domingo
  • Dr. Peter Drucker
  • Katharine Graham
  • Dr. Donald Henderson
  • Irving Kristol
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Gordon Moore
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Fred Rogers
  • Abe M. Rosenthal

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1954MIL12246858131276136928392.280
1955MIL1536021051893792710649613.314
1956MIL1536091062003414269237542.328
1957MIL1516151181982764413257581.322
1958MIL153601109196344309559494.326
1959MIL1546291162234673912351548.355
1960MIL153590102172201140126606316.292
1961MIL155603115197391034120566421.327
1962MIL15659212719128645128667315.323
1963MIL16163112120129444130789431.319
1964MIL1455701031873022495624622.328
1965MIL1505701091814013289608124.318
1966ATL15860311716823144127769621.279
1967ATL15560011318437339109639717.307
1968ATL160606841743342986646228.287
1969ATL147547100164303449787479.300
1970ATL1505161031542613811874639.298
1971ATL139495951622234711871581.327
1972ATL12944975119100347792554.265
1973ATL12039284118121409668511.301
1974ATL1123404791160206939291.268
1975MIL13746545109162126070510.234
1976MIL85271226280103535380.229
CAREER3298123642174377162498755229714021383240.305

LED THE LEAGUE …

HR

195744
196344
196644
196739

RBI

1957132
1960126
1963130
1966127

RUNS

1957118
1963121
1967113

AVG

1956.328
1959.355

Roberto Clemente • 2003 (posthumously)

At age 38, Pittsburgh Pirates star Clemente died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico on his way to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Major League Baseball has continued to honor Clemente's legacy by annually, at the World Series, presenting the Roberto Clemente Award to the player who most represents Clemente's humanitarianism. Hall of Famer Clemente also has had many schools named after him. In Miami, Fla., the Roberto Clemente Youth Club was created to help at-risk Hispanic youth stay away from drugs and violence.

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 2003

In 2003, President George W. Bush also awarded the Medal of Freedom to:

  • Jacques Barzun
  • Julia Child
  • Van Cliburn
  • Václav Havel
  • Charlton Heston
  • Edward Teller
  • R. David Thomas
  • Byron Raymond White
  • James Q. Wilson
  • John R. Wooden

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1955PIT12447448121231154718602.255
1956PIT1475436616930776013586.311
1957PIT1114514211417743023450.253
1958PIT14051969150241065031418.289
1959PIT1054326012817745015512.296
1960PIT14457089179226169439724.314
1961PIT1465721002013010238935594.351
1962PIT14453895168289107435736.312
1963PIT152600771922381776316412.320
1964PIT15562295211407128751875.339
1965PIT152589911942114106543788.329
1966PIT154638105202311129119461097.317
1967PIT147585103209261023110411039.357
1968PIT132502741461812185751772.291
1969PIT138507871752012199156734.345
1970PIT108412651452210146038663.352
1971PIT13252282178298138626651.341
1972PIT10237868118197106029490.312
CAREER 24339454141630004401662401305621123083.317

LED THE LEAGUE …

AVG

1961.351
1964.339
1965.329
1967.357

Frank Robinson • 2005

Now an executive with Major League Baseball and a Most Valuable Player in both leagues, Hall of Famer Robinson was honored largely for his breaking another color barrier. In 1975, Robinson, then with Cleveland. became the first African-American manager in the major leagues. He was, in fact, a player-manager. Robinson was widely regarded as one of the game's most aggressive and fearless players. Bush's citation, in part, read, "The United States honors Frank Robinson for his extraordinary achievements as a baseball player and manager and for setting a lasting example of character in athletics."

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 2005

In 2005, President George W. Bush also awarded the Medal of Freedom to:

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Carol Burnett
  • Vinton Cerf
  • Robert Conquest
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Alan Greenspan
  • Andy Griffith
  • Paul Harvey
  • Robert Kahn
  • G. V. Sonny Montgomery
  • Richard B. Myers
  • Jack Nicklaus
  • Paul Rusesabagina

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1956CIN152572122166276388364958.290
1957CIN150611971972952975449210.322
1958CIN148554901492563183628010.269
1959CIN14654010616831436125699318.311
1960CIN139464861383363183826713.297
1961CIN15354511717632737124716422.323
1962CIN16260913420851239136766218.342
1963CIN140482791251932191816926.259
1964CIN1565681031743862996796723.306
1965CIN156582109172335331137010013.296
1966BAL1555761221823424912287908.316
1967BAL12947983149237309471842.311
1968BAL130421691132711552738411.268
1969BAL1485391111661953210088629.308
1970BAL13247188144241257869702.306
1971BAL13345582128162289972623.281
1972LA103342418661195955762.251
1973CAL14753485142290309782931.266
1974CAL/CLE14447781117273226885955.245
1975CLE4911819285092429150.237
1976CLE36675150031011120.224
CAREER 2808100061829294352872586181214201532204.294

LED THE LEAGUE …

HR

196649

RBI

1966122

RUNS

1956122
1962134
1966122

AVG

1966.316

Buck O'Neil • 2006 (posthumously)

The Negro Leagues player, historian and advocate was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom less than three months after he died at age 94. O'Neil is widely credited for helping break down the barriers of racial prejudice. "Buck O'Neil lived long enough to see baseball and America change for the better," Bush said in his presentation. O'Neil missed by one vote of being elected to the Hall of Fame five years ago, along with other Negro League and pre-Negro League figures but the Hall of Fame has established a special lifetime achievement award in his honor. After his Negro Leagues career, O'Neil joined the Chicago Cubs as a scout and later became the first black coach of a major league team. He also was the driving force behind creation of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 2006

In 2006, President George W. Bush also awarded the Medal of Freedom to:

  • Ruth Johnson Colvin
  • Norman C. Francis
  • Paul Johnson
  • B.B. King
  • Joshua Lederberg
  • David McCullough
  • Norman Y. Mineta
  • William Safire
  • Natan Sharansky

NEGRO-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSBAVG
1937Memphis 2811000000.125
1938Kansas City 309414224103118.234
1939Kansas City 291011224421944.238
1940Kansas City 259317326302655.344
1941Kansas City 2911316295212534.257
1942Kansas City 3614518395212534.269
1943Kansas City 19681223301915.338
1944-45Military service
1946Kansas City 5819736691162271212.350
1947Kansas City 165916184121047.305
1948Kansas City 42162144161139.253
1949Kansas City 4510917364011460.330
1950Kansas City 318314215211511.253
Total(through 1950)36212321873555720101363672.288
Statistical data for the Negro Leagues in the 1950s is very limited, because the leagues were dying off.
O'Neill was known to have played full time in 1951 and as a reserve and pinch-hitter as late as 1955.

Stan Musial • 2011

A three-time Most Valuable Player who holds the Cardinals' career records for hits, home runs and runs batted in, Musial is perhaps even a better person.

He never was ejected from a game in his 22-season career and he has remained a constant and inspiring presence in St. Louis since his retirement in 1963.

Over the years, Musial has been active on the President's Council on Physical Fitness, the USO, the Boy Scouts. Senior Olympics, Crippled Children's Society of St. Louis and other groups and charities. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, when the announcement of Musial's honor was announced, said, "Stan Musial is an extraordinary human being, a great American and one of the best players in the history of the game. He has long been a treasure of St. Louis, but he represents all the best of our national pastime."

FELLOW RECIPIENTS IN 2011

In 2011, President Barack Obama also will award the Medal of Freedom to:

  • Maya Angelou
  • John H. Adams
  • George H. W. Bush
  • Warren Buffett
  • Jasper Johns
  • Gerda Weissmann Klein
  • John Lewis
  • Dr. Tom Little
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Sylvia Mendez
  • Angela Merkel
  • Bill Russell
  • Jean Kennedy Smith
  • John J. Sweeney

MAJOR-LEAGUE STATISTICS

SEASONTEAMGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVG
1941STL12478204017211.426
1942STL140467871473210107262256.315
1943STL1576171082204820138172189.357
1944STL1465681121975114129490287.347
1945-46Military service (World War II)
1946STL15662412422850201610373317.365
1947STL1495871131833013199580244.312
1948STL15561113523046183913179347.376
1949STL157612128207411336123107383.338
1950STL1465551051924172810987365.346
1951STL15257812420530123210898404.355
1952STL154578105194426219196297.336
1953STL15759312720053930113105323.337
1954STL15359112019541935126103391.330
1955STL154562971793053310880395.319
1956STL156594871843362710975392.310
1957STL134502821763832910266341.351
1958STL13547264159352176272260.337
1959STL1153413787132144460250.255
1960STL1163314991171176341341.275
1961STL12337246107224157052350.288
1962STL13543357143181198264463.330
1963STL1243373486102125835432.255
CAREER302610972194936307251774751951159969678.331

LED THE LEAGUE …

AVG

1943.357
1946.365
1948.376
1950.346
1951.355
1952.336
1957.351

RBI

1948131
1956109

RUNS

1946124
1948135
1951124
1952105
1954120

Sources: Baseball Hall of Fame, mlb.com, baseball-reference.com, wikipedia.org, archive.org, whitehouse.gov, "The Catcher was a Spy" by Nicholas Dawidoff