Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States, along with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. It is designed to recognize individuals 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." It was first established by President Truman in 1945 to honor service during World War II. President Kennedy reestablished the award in 1963 to recognize "distinguished civilian service in peace time."
The Presidential Medal of Freedom has been awarded to twelve former professional baseball players and one announcer; significantly, four of them are former Negro League players.
- Moe Berg in 1945 by President Harry Truman, as an award for war service
- Joe DiMaggio in 1977 by President Gerald Ford
- Jackie Robinson in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan
- Ted Williams in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush
- Hank Aaron in 2002 by President George W. Bush
- Roberto Clemente in 2003 by President George W. Bush
- Frank Robinson in 2005 by President George W. Bush
- Buck O'Neil in 2006 by President George W. Bush
- Stan Musial in 2010 by President Barack Obama
- Ernie Banks in 2013 by President Barack Obama
- Yogi Berra in 2015 by President Barack Obama
- Vin Scully in 2016 by President Barack Obama
- Babe Ruth in 2018 by President Donald Trump
- Mariano Rivera in 2019 by President Donald Trump
Berg declined the award but it was accepted on his behalf posthumously. Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Babe Ruth were also honored posthumously.