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Petition created for Yogi Berra to receive Medal of Freedom

Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra smiles during

Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra smiles during a news conference before the Connecticut Sports Foundation annual celebrity dinner at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. (Feb. 10, 2012) Credit: AP

From the House that Ruth Built to the White House?

Fans of Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra have launched a petition for the 10-time World Series winner to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The petition, launched on May 9 on the White House's website, needs to reach 100,000 signatures by June 8 in order to require an official White House response.

There were 1,611 signatures as of Monday afternoon, though the appeal was beginning to see a push on Twitter with the hashtag #YogiMedal. TV host Stephen Colbert tweeted a link to the petition to his more than seven million followers and The Players' Tribune, Derek Jeter's athlete communications website, also tweeted a link to its nearly 75,000 followers.

"A man of unimpeachable integrity and respect, [Berra] befriended the first black and Latino baseball players in Major League Baseball," the petition states. "He is currently an ambassador for Athlete Ally, which promotes LGBT rights in sports. Berra enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served during the D-Day invasion."

The creator of the petition is identified only by the initials "C.S." and is listed as being from Colts Neck, New Jersey

The Nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, is "presented 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," according to whitehouse.gov.

Previous recipients of the award from the sports world include Hank Aaron (2002), Muhammad Ali (2005), Ernie Banks (2013), Joe DiMaggio (1977), Stan Musial (2011), Frank Robinson (2005) and Ted Williams (1991).

Berra, who turns 90 on Tuesday, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. A three-time American League MVP and 15-time All-Star, Berra batted .285 with a .348 on-base percentage and 358 home runs during 19 seasons, almost exclusively with the Yankees (he played in four games with the Mets in 1965).

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