ST. LOUIS — Carlos Beltran was chosen as the Roberto Clemente Award recipient before Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night.
The Clemente Award goes to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship and community involvement. Beltran was selected from a list of 30 Club nominees by a panel of dignitaries that included Commissioner Bud Selig, past award winners and the Clemente family. Additionally, fans were able to cast a vote for the award.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to present our most prestigious off-field honor, the Roberto Clemente Award, to a fellow, gifted Puerto Rican standout, Carlos Beltran,” Commissioner Selig said. “It is an honor to recognize one of our game’s most accomplished players and his wife, Jessica, for their extraordinary work through the Carlos Beltran Foundation and the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. Their family’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of young people in St. Louis and their home of Puerto Rico is a powerful example for others and a testament to the philanthropic spirit of Roberto Clemente.”
Beltran’s baseball bona fides are without question. His community involvement may be less known, but is no less impressive. He opened the Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico in August 2011. The Academy allows young athletes education opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. He established the school with an initial $3 million personal contribution, and maintains it through annual fundraising events. This past June, the school had its first graduation ceremony where 44 boys received their high school diploma.
There is a special resonance here as well, as both Beltran and Clemente are products of Puerto Rico. Beltran’s comments accepting the award a few moments ago made special notice of the example Clemente set for him, both in baseball and philanthropic terms.
“I’ve said many times throughout my career, the impact Roberto Clemente has had on me, not only as a baseball player, but also as a humanitarian and Puerto Rican,” said Beltran. “I am so humbled and blessed that God has given me the opportunity to help others and make an impact on the lives of children, just as Roberto did for many years. I have had many people support me throughout my career and I am just proud to share this honor with them.”
Congratulations, Carlos Beltran.