NEW YORK - Hall of Famer Stan Musial will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Major League Baseball made the announcement on Wednesday, revealing that the Cardinals great, who will turn 90 next week, will have the award presented to him by President Barack Obama.
One of the two highest civilian honors that can be bestowed, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded for "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Musial's honor will be the culmination of a massive campaign within the Cardinals' organization known as "Stand for Stan," which aimed to raise public awareness of his life and contributions to the game of baseball, the Cardinals, and in his adopted hometown of St. Louis.
"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, 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," said MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
"Stan Musial is an extraordinary human being, a great American and one of the best players in the history of the game," Selig added. "He has long been a treasure of St. Louis, but he represents all the best of our national pastime. Today, our game salutes Stan Musial on this highest honor from our country."
Musial was born in Donora, a town south of Pittsburgh, in 1920 and was signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in 1938 as a pitcher.
What followed was a stellar 22-year career, which saw the versatile slugger switch to the field and hit .331 with 475 homers, 725 doubles, 177 triples and drove in 1,951 runs in 3,026 games -- all with St. Louis. He was an 24-time All-Star selection (1943-44, 1946-63) and was voted the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1943, 1946 and 1948.
Musial also was the NL batting champion on seven occasions and was an integral part of four pennant-winning clubs including three World Series champions (1942, 1944, 1946). The sweet-swinging lefty held the NL hits record with 3,630 from his retirement until Pete Rose eclipsed him during the 1981 season.
Following his last season in 1963, Musial joined the Cardinals' front office, and served as the club's general manager during their 1967 World Series triumph. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.