Gretzkys, Bryce Harper and ‘Bills Mafia’ to receive Musial awards


Janet Jones, left, and Wayne Gretzky arrive at the 10th annual Alfred Mann Foundation Gala on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for The Alfred Mann Foundation/AP Images)

ST. LOUIS–The St. Louis Sports Commission announced Thursday the slate of honorees for the 2021 Musial Awards, recognizing sportsmanship and honoring the legacy of legendary St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

Wayne and Janet Gretzky will receive the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award. Wayne Gretzky, widely considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time, was a five time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, “awarded annually to the NHL player who exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” His wife, Janet, a Pattonville High School graduate, is being recognized for her work to raise funds and awareness for charitable causes.

Bryce Harper, an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, is being recognized for the sportsmanship he exhibited in April, when after being struck in the face by a pitch from Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera, reached out to Cabrera via text to let the pitcher know that he was ok and that the pitch was an accident. Cabrera had struck another Philadelphia hitter in the same appearance. Harper’s gesture was credited for calming a charged environment. Cabrera went on to be one of the Cardinals’ most reliable relievers.

The event will also honor two Buffalo Bills fans on behalf of the team’s fanbase who were instrumental in helping raise what ended up being more than half a million dollars for Blessings in a Backpack, a charity near to the heart of Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. They did it after Jackson was knocked out of an AFC playoff game between the two teams.

The Stan Musial Award for Extraordinary Character will be presented to Zaila Avant-garde, who in July became the first black American to win the Scripps Spelling Bee.

The Musial Awards presented by Maryville University will be held November 20, 2021 at the Stifel Theatre.

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