As was announced last fall, today Stan Musial will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The ceremony is this afternoon at 1:30PM Eastern/12:30 Central. KSDK.com and NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis will carry it live if you’re interested.
As I said back in November, Musial is most worthy of this. Not just because he was one of the greatest ballplayers who has ever lived, but also because his integrity, demeanor and just plain and simple decency stands for the notion that a sports figure can be a role model, even if we are increasingly inclined to reject that notion in this day and age. He’s been in the public eye for close to 70 years, and I’ll be damned if I’ve ever read or heard one negative thing about him. Which is frankly amazing considering how the world works these days.
There is really no one else like Stan Musial in baseball. He doesn’t need an award from the President for anyone to realize it, but by gum, I’m glad he’s getting it.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.