Roberto Clemente spent seventeen years as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a Gold Glove winner, a batting champion, a two-time World Series winner, a fifteen-time All Star, and in the upper echelon of Hall of Famers.
The Roberto Clemente Award is not about any of that.
After an earthquake hit Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, Clemente began a relief effort. When he discovered his supplies were not reaching the people in need, he chose to personally escort them to the survivors. On December 31, 1972 the plane carrying those supplies along with Roberto Clemente crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. There were no survivors.
In honor of Clemente’s humanitarianism, Major League Baseball honors one player each year that “best represents the sport through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field” with an award in his name. This year’s recipient is Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
Just two days after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, Molina was on site delivering supplies and assisting with the clean-up effort. He and his wife, Wanda, created a GoFundMe page to accept donations to help fund the relief efforts. Per Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com:
Molina raised over $800,000 to aid in the relief, including $200,000 from a celebrity softball event in Puerto Rico last December. His fundraising efforts continue, and he plans to return to Puerto Rico later this offseason to continue the work.
His work embodies the spirit of the award - one he could not personally accept because he was in Puerto Rico managing the managing Puerto Rico’s under-23 team in Colombia. For this, the fans and a panel that included Vera Clemente chose Molina for this honor.
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I meant to mention this on Monday, but you might have noticed that Hunt and Peck is now at 3:00 pm. That is because we got moved to 3:00 pm!
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