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Cardinals receive first Musial 'Character' Award

Organizations, individuals lauded for sportsmanship in Hall of Famer's honor

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals organization was honored with the first "Musial Award for Extraordinary Character" at Saturday evening's Musial Awards event at the Peabody Opera House. It was the final honor passed out on a night in which eight organizations and individuals were recognized for acts of sportsmanship.

This marked the 14th year that national sportsmanship awards have been given but the first that those awards bore Musial's name. Last November, two months before Musial died at the age of 92, it was announced that the awards would be renamed the Musial Awards as a tribute to a Hall of Famer who made a lasting legacy off and on the field.

Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III accepted the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character on behalf of the organization. The honor was established as a way to recognize "a sports figure or organization that embodies the class, dignity, generosity, excellence, civility and integrity synonymous with Stan."

The St. Louis Sports Commission and The National Sportsmanship Foundation selected the Cardinals for this award because of the organization's dedication to honor Musial in 2013 "by playing with the consistency, zeal and grace that Stan the Man displayed throughout his career." That was one of the challenges manager Mike Matheny presented to his club at the start of Spring Training.

"The Cardinals are so fortunate that our greatest player was also our greatest ambassador," DeWitt said during the ceremony. "He was a great representation of everything that you hope all of our players would be like. And I think also of people like [the late broadcaster] Jack Buck, who exemplified that same ethos. We're just so fortunate that as a social institution, as well as being a sport and a business, we can be inspired by nights like this and try to keep that tradition going."

Musial's granddaughter, Lindsey Edmonds, as well as his daughter, Jean Edmonds, and her husband, Dave, were among those who appeared on stage to talk about Musial's connection to sportsmanship.

"I wish my dad were here," Jean Edmonds said. "He would be playing the harmonica. We'd all be singing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame.' He would just want to honor all the recipients for doing the right thing."

KSDK-TV NewsChannel 5 will televise the Musial Awards on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. CT. The show will also be replayed at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. Here is a quick rundown of the other seven award winners:

Casey Mack: Mack, a senior third baseman at Trumbull (Conn.) High School last spring, purchased new bats for three high schools in his district that did not have the funding for sufficient equipment.

Ethan McConnell: As a senior on the Falls City (Ore.) High School basketball team, McConnell rebounded the ball in the final seconds of a game and passed it to opposing player, Davan Overton. Overton, who suffers from Dandy-Walker Syndrome and gets little playing time, took the feed and made a basket at the buzzer.

Kirsten Moore and Westmont College: With the community stepping up to help watch her newborn daughter, Moore continued coaching her NAIA girls basketball team after the sudden death of her husband, Alex. Moore helped lead her squad to a national championship 10 months after she lost her husband and eight months after Alexis was born.

Fraser Valley Fusion '97: The fast-pitch softball team from British Columbia helped carry an opposing player to home plate after injuring herself rounding the bases on a home run.

Bri Ebenroth: Diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome during her senior year at St. Dominic (Mo.) High School, Ebenroth pushed her coach to make sure all of her teammates had playing time during the state championship game. She also offered back her soccer scholarship to Drury (Mo.) University once she learned her health commitment would keep her from the field.

Steve Bonastia and the Seckman (Mo.) softball team: In a decision that would cost his team a win, Bonastia told an umpire to award an opposing team a home run after that umpire was prepared to rule the hit a ground-rule double. From his vantage point in the dugout, Bonastia had a clear view of the ball hitting the yellow line and landing over the fence.

The University of Nebraska: In a story that captured significant national play, Nebraska staged an opportunity for eight-year-old Jack Hoffman to score a touchdown during the football team's annual spring game. Hoffman was receiving cancer treatment at the time, though it was announced on Saturday that he is now in remission.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.

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