2014 – Joe Torre
2015 – Arnold Palmer
2016 – Cal Ripken Jr.
2017 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee
2018 – Jim Thome
2019 – Bart Conner & Nadia Comaneci
2020 – Hank Aaron
2021 – Wayne & Janet Gretzky
The Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award is the pinnacle honor bestowed at the Musial Awards and the highest award for sportsmanship. It recognizes iconic sports figures who exemplify sportsmanship and embody the class, dignity, generosity, excellence, civility and integrity synonymous with Stan The Man.
The Musial Awards proudly honored Wayne and Janet Gretzky with the Musial Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. When it comes to sportsmanship, Wayne is objectively in a class by himself. He is a five-time winner of the Lady-Byng Trophy – awarded to the NHL player who exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. No other living NHL player has won the award as many times. Janet, who enjoyed a successful acting and dancing career, has made an impact behind the scenes, raising awareness and funds for several charities including those focused on battling breast cancer. Together, Wayne and Janet are models of kindness and graciousness.
In 2020, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to one of the most important and respected sports figures of all-time, Hank Aaron. It was a fitting way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Stan Musial’s birth. The Musial Awards was grateful for the opportunity to honor Hammerin’ Hank before his passing in early 2021. His strength, goodness and decency made him an American hero. He embodied sportsmanship in all he overcame and all he accomplished. In an interview with Bob Costas, Aaron said, “I’ve received many awards in my lifetime, but to receive this award, especially in the name of Stan Musial, probably was the greatest I’ve ever had.”
Olympic Gymnastics legends Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, winners of a combined seven gold medals, were honored with the award in 2019. As husband and wife, they have led their lives inspiring others and contributing to the greater good. They are tireless ambassadors of their sport and have made an immense impact on society through their charitable efforts.
Just months after his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018, Jim Thome became the fifth recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Thome’s stats made him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His integrity, humility and consistency made him a Musial Award winner. Like Musial, Thome was beloved in the cities where he played, and he treated the game and everyone with the greatest respect.
In 2017, the award was presented to Jackie Joyner-Kersee. A six-time Olympic medalist, JJK has been called the greatest female athlete of her time. It’s a reflection of the success she achieved as a track and field superstar. But it’s also an apt way to describe her as a person. She is as gracious, kind and unassuming as they come. When it comes to sportsmanship, JJK is certainly “the greatest.”
Cal Ripken Jr. received the honor at the 2016 Musial Awards. Baseball’s “Iron Man” was recognized for the way he played the game and the manner in which he carried himself on and off the field. A 19-time All-Star and holder of baseball’s record for consecutive games played, he is admired for his consistent, respectful and humble approach.
In 2015, Arnold Palmer accepted the Musial Lifetime Achievement Award in one of his last public appearances prior to his passing. One of the most popular and accessible sports figures, “The King” built an army of admirers through his down-to-earth and personable approach. His golfing success – seven major championships including four Masters titles – was matched by his kindness and philanthropic commitment. Palmer and Musial shared Western Pennsylvania roots, and they were both legendary ambassadors of their respective sports and among the greatest athletes of all-time.
The inaugural Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship was presented to Joe Torre in 2014. The Baseball Hall of Famer was recognized for the upstanding character and humble demeanor that define his career and personality. A model of integrity and generosity, Torre has been a class act as a player, manager and MLB executive. In accepting the award, Torre said, “This is one of the proudest nights of my life.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award’s selection committee includes representatives from the Musial Awards, the Musial family and the St. Louis Sports Commission. The recipient is presented a special limited-edition sculpture of the Cardinals legend created by St. Louis artist Harry Weber. The work, “Remembering Stan the Man,” was commissioned to be presented to the award’s annual winner.
The Musial Awards looks forward to continuing a tradition of honoring the most respected personalities in sports with the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award – the ultimate award for sportsmanship.