U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, as a tribute to baseball's greatest Polish-American player, has joined as a co-sponsor of H.R. 420, a bill that would name the new Interstate 70 bridge over the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge.
"As a proud Polish-American and lifelong baseball fan, I am honored to co-sponsor legislation that would pay tribute to someone who remains a larger-than-life hero to us in the Polish-American community. Stan Musial was much more than one of the game's greatest players. He was a U.S. Navy and World War II veteran, a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, and the first inductee into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame," Rep. Lipinski said. "While the Hall of Fame numbers -- 3,630 hits and a lifetime .331 average to go along with three World Series titles with the St. Louis Cardinals -- speak for themselves, his recent passing is especially poignant. In a year when no baseball player was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame because of lingering questions about cheating and activities that tarnished the reputation of the game, Musial's character remains unquestioned. As broadcaster Bob Costas said, "All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being.' He was "Stan the Man.'"
Rep. Lipinski, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Poland, represents Illinois' 3rd Congressional District, home to more than 100,000 Polish-Americans, one of the highest numbers for any congressional district in the United States.
The bridge carrying I-70 traffic between Illinois and Missouri is expected to open in 2014. Sponsoring H.R. 420 is U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13). Joining Rep. Lipinski as co-sponsors are Reps. John Shimkus (IL-15) and Ann Wagner (MO-2).