Medal of Freedom petition for Yogi hits mark
More than 100,000 sign in hopes that Yanks icon is recognized with nation's highest civilian honor
The effort to get Hall of Famer Yogi Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom cleared an important hurdle on Monday.
An online petition, which had been up since early May, needed to get 100,000 signatures by midnight, and hit its target late on Monday night. That means the White House now must respond in a timely fashion to the petition, which states that Berra should receive the honor for "his military service and civil rights and educational activism."
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor. According to the White House, it is "presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
The list of baseball players who have received one includes Hank Aaron (2002), Ernie Banks (2013), Roberto Clemente (2003), Joe DiMaggio (1977), Stan Musial (2011), Buck O'Neil (2006), Frank Robinson (2005), Jackie Robinson (1984) and Ted Williams (1991).
Berra, 90, is considered one of the best catchers in baseball history. He is a three-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner who spent nearly his entire 19-year career with the Yankees. He also spent seven seasons as a manager and was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1972.
Berra served in the Navy during World War II, taking part in the D-Day invasion, and continues to support the military. He also is involved in efforts to promote LGBT rights in sports and education.