2010 was a big year for the greatest St. Louis Cardinal ever, Stan Musial.
One of baseball’s last surviving stars from the 1940’s received word on November 17 from The White House that President Barack Obama will award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Four days later, the Hall of Famer celebrated his 90th birthday.
The highest civilian award in the United States recognizes those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
“The Man” was the beneficiary of a drive fueled by thousands of Cardinals fans and supported by elected officials who took a “Stand for Stan” stance during 2010, drawing attention to and honoring Musial’s lifetime of achievement and service.
Of course, the Cardinals organization was fully behind the effort, starting with an online petition and a variety of other interest-generating elements throughout the season.
One of the most memorable aspects of the campaign was a printable “Flat Stan the Man,” a takeoff on the “Flat Stanley Project” used for years in literacy awareness efforts. Fans and celebrities alike posing for pictures with Flat Stan the Man were widely publicized.
The national media rediscovered Musial’s greatness as exemplified by Sports Illustrated, which featured him on their August 3 cover and ran an excellent story by Joe Posnanski entitled “What Modern Baseball Can Learn from Stan the Man.”
Current Cardinals star Albert Pujols once again reminded everyone that he does not want to be called “El Hombre” out of respect for the one and only “The Man.”
“Stand for Stan Day” was held at Busch Stadium on October 2. Musial was in the house as 39,633 fans showered their support. In the middle of the sixth inning, those in attendance were asked to stand up for Stan while holding oversized Flat Stan the Man cutouts distributed at the gates. Musial had earlier made an appearance at the April 12 home opener as well.
Others named to receive the 2011 Medal along with Musial are poet Maya Angelou, President George W. Bush, investor Warren Buffett and former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell.
To read more about the many on-field accomplishments of the man we named the top player in the history of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise, click here.