Babe Ruth, Elvis, Others to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
Donald Trump's White House is recognizing political and cultural figures who have impacted America big-time
Seven recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom were announced Saturday morning — and they included a handful of significant cultural figures.
While outgoing Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), philanthropist Miriam Adelson, and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia are this year’s recipients who have more clout on the political side, athletes and even the music and entertainment industry are also represented.
Rock legend Elvis Presley, former Major League Baseball home run king Babe Ruth, Football Hall of Fame inductee and former quarterback Roger Staubach, and defensive end Alan Page also made the list.
Staubach and Page will receive their medals on November 16, while Presley and Ruth are receiving the honor posthumously.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is for “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,” according to the White House.
That said, it’s fair to say the four cultural figures that President Donald Donald Trump selected for this highest award given to civilians made significant impacts in this regard in their lifetimes.
Here is a look at each of them:
Babe Ruth. Ruth (shown above far left) was one of the first true American sports stars.
Originally a pitcher, he is best remembered for his batting and to this day, his .690 career slugging percentage is still a record.
Finishing his career with 714 home runs, Ruth set the league’s all-time record in 1921 (and added to it until he retired in 1935); Hank Aaron eventually broke Ruth’s record in 1974.
Ruth also hit more home runs than any other entire American League team did on two occasions (1920 and 1927).
Elvis Presley. From a music standpoint, Presley (above right) was among the first rock ‘n’ roll stars in the 1950s.
The three-time Grammy Award winner, often referred to as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, is still distinguished for most record sales of all-time (one billion), according to Guinness World Records.
Presley received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 at just 25 years old.
Roger Staubach. He led the Dallas Cowboys to a pair of Super Bowls during the 1970s and earned six Pro Bowl appearances over the span of his 11-year career.
Staubach is also a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Vietnam War veteran; though he was drafted by the NFL out of college, Staubach served from 1965 to 1969 and volunteered to do one year in Vietnam.
While he was there, he served as a Supply Corps officer and commanded 41 men from 1966 to 1967.
Alan Page. While Page made a name for himself playing in eight straight Pro Bowls for the Minnesota Vikings and winning NFL MVP in 1971, he is known not just for his football career.
Page got a law degree after his career was over and became the first African-American justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court; he served on it from 1993 to 2015, since Minnesota mandates that its justices on the court retire at age 70.
For more on the Presidential Medal of Freedom, check out the video below:
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.