NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s your at-bat, Mr. President.
A petition to award New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra with the Presidential Medal of Freedom reached its goal of 100,000 signatures just ahead of Monday’s midnight deadline. Now the request will make its way to the White House, which typically answers petitions within 30 days.READ MORE: 'The Loss Of A Hero': New York Mourns Death Of 22-Year-Old NYPD Officer Jason Rivera
Established in 1960, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the country, given to people who make outstanding contributions to the world. Among his accomplishments, Berra, who turned 90 last month, is a veteran, having enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served during the D-Day invasion.
He is “a man of unimpeachable integrity and respect,” the petition says, and “continues to be an avid supporter of our armed forces.”
Berra has also been a staunch advocate of education, setting up a scholarship 50 years ago at Columbia University that is still awarded today, and his museum in New Jersey “serves 20,000 students annually with character education programs and teaches the values of respect, sportsmanship and inclusion that Berra has demonstrated throughout his life and career,” the petition reads.READ MORE: Dozens Gather In Harlem To Pray For Families Of NYPD Officers Shot While Responding To Domestic Dispute
Considered one of the greatest catchers to ever play the game, Berra was a three-time AL MVP during his 19-year playing career, all but one with the Yankees. He was an 18-time All-Star and is a member of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
A late rally ensured the petition will cross the desk of Barack Obama — and Berra’s backers hope that one day soon, the president will bestow the honor on the quotable Hall of Famer.
“Despite how famous he is, he is the most humble, kind, compassionate, caring person you’re ever going to meet,” his granddaughter, Lindsay Berra, told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.MORE NEWS: Lashawn McNeil, Suspect In Deadly Harlem Police Shooting, Was On Probation, Had 5 Prior Arrests
Obama has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two former ballplayers: Stan Musial in 2011 and Ernie Banks two years ago.