Ernie Banks awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Ernie Banks was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama today. It’s the nation’s highest civilian honor. According to the White House, the award is given 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 moment of honor:

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If I was the president I woulda given him two. As it was, Obama noted that, even though he was a White Sox fan, he always believed Banks when he claimed that, someday, the Cubs will win it all. Obama said  “That’s serious belief.” And it probably tells you all you need to know about the positive thinking and inspirational nature of Ernie Banks.

Banks joins Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Buck O’Neil, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams as Medal of Freedom recipients from the game of baseball.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.