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Obama: Musial an “Icon” for Baseball Lovers Everywhere

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 15:  U.S. President Barack Obama (L) presents Baseball Hall of Fame member Stan Musial the 2010 Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 15: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) presents Baseball Hall of Fame member Stan Musial the 2010 Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON D.C. (KMOX) — An “icon” and an “untarnished example” for baseball lovers everywhere.

That’s how President Barack Obama introduced Cardinals legend Stan Musial during this afternoon’s Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House Tuesday.

“He was the first player to make, get this, hundred thousand dollars,” announced President Obama. “Even more shocking he asked for a pay cut when he didn’t preform up to his own expectations. You can image that happening today.”

“Stan the Man” wore a Cardinal-red jacket and tie as the President draped the Medal of Freedom around his neck.

Meanwhile in St. Louis, nearly two hundred Cardinals’ employees watched the ceremony on flat-screen televisions in the Champion’s Club at Busch Stadium.

Among them was Stadium Operations Director Mike Bertani, who started working for the Cardinals as a 13-year-old in 1957 and worked under Musial when he was the team’s general manager.

Bertani says an autograph Stan signed for him years ago, typifies what makes “The Man” special, “He signed it, ‘your friend, Stan Musial’.  It just kind of touched me. I knew him for 18 years but I was just a front office worker and he signed it “your friend’ and I think he thinks all Cardinals’ fans are his friends.”

Bertani says that watching Musial get the Medal of Freedom was an emotional moment, “It gave me a warm sense of happiness for him. You know, there’s no crying in baseball, but I did have a couple of tears in my eyes.”

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