Vin Scully and some other baseball ties of the 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
Legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, now reaping the benefits of retired life, recently reminded us all what a wonderful, humble soul he is with a typically self-deprecating response to being informed he would receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.
Scully's big day was Tuesday, when he and the other big names on the list of recipients were honored in a ceremony at the White House.
As defined by the White House Press Secretary's press release, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is a pretty prestigious award:
While Scully is the only figure on the list with direct career ties to baseball, a handful of others alongside him also have connections to our national pastime. Let's take a look, shall we?
You don't need much of an introduction about Scully's career, which just wrapped up after 67 impeccable seasons behind the microphone for the Dodgers. The man is a physical embodiment of the game, as synonymous with the word "baseball" as the sport itself. Hats off to you, Vin.
Actor, director, philanthropist, businessman ... Robert Redford is many things, including star of the classic baseball movie "The Natural." He's up for a Medal of Freedom after decades of hard work.
Jimmy Dugan himself, Tom Hanks, also made the cut for this year's Medal of Freedom recipients.
It's Hanks, of course, who co-starred in "A League of Their Own" as the feisty ex-player-turned-embittered-manager of the Peaches -- and he's a passionate Indians fan, too.
MJ is one of the finest basketball players this planet has ever seen -- and is probably the best, really. During the height of his stardom, he tried his hand at baseball during a Minor League engagement with the White Sox, and while it didn't go as well as his NBA career, it was still enough to bring about this highlight clip:
In addition to being a musical favorite of baseball fans and writers everywhere, Bruce Springsteen had a friend that was a big baseball player back in high school.
He turned that past acquaintance (whether real or fictitious) into the song "Glory Days," which is still in heavy rotation at ballparks around the league in batting practice, between innings or any other time to blast some Boss, really:
Robert De Niro
In 1973, a young actor named Robert De Niro co-starred in "Bang the Drum Slowly," a star-making turn that found him portraying talented New York Mammoths catcher Bruce Pearson. More than four decades later, De Niro is a Hollywood legend and the film stands up as one of the most celebrated baseball movies ever made.
De Niro also starred in another baseball movie, 1996's "The Fan," so he's dabbled in baseball a few times throughout his career.
Congratulations to those listed above as well as the rest of the new crop of Medal of Freedom recipients!