For the fifth time in his career, pitcher Adam Wainwright has been named the St. Louis Cardinals 2020 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. It is the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.
“To be the Cardinals nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award is extremely humbling. Roberto Clemente was a great player on the field, but just as great of a man and humanitarian off the field,” said Wainwright. “He set the bar high for all of us, and I just can’t think of a better compliment than to be nominated for his namesake award.”
Wainwright, with brother Trey, founded Big League Impact (BLI) in 2013 to provide basic needs including food, clean water, medical care and shelter in an effort to restore dignity and hope to those in need across the globe. Wainwright’s first fundraising event was Waino’s World Fantasy Football Draft. Today, Wainwright works with over two dozen MLB players to bring their charitable aspirations to life through Fantasy Football Drafts, game nights, and Swing for Impact events. Through Wainwright’s leadership, by the end of 2020, $5.2 million will have been raised by 150 players to benefit 62 charities.
Additionally, Wainwright and BLI once again partnered with Garth Brooks’ foundation Teammates for Kids and MLB on the Home Plate Project, a league-wide initiative to support childhood hunger prevention and battle food insecurity. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the need for food assistance became greater and more immediate. Across MLB, teams embraced the initiative with fifty players participating, raising nearly $1 million and providing more than four million meals to those in need across the U.S. and Canada. Locally, the initiative raised $122,250 for Operation Food Search, Crisis Aid and the St. Louis Area Foodbank resulting in over 200,000 meals distributed across the St. Louis area.
“Adam Wainwright has shown his dedication to humanitarian efforts time and time again, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Hall, Vice President, Community Relations & Executive Director, Cardinals Care. “We admire his worldwide efforts to help people in need, and are proud to have him as a member of the Cardinals.”
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) MLB.com, as well as Roberto’s children, Enrique, Luis and Roberto Clemente, Jr. Beginning today, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via mlb.com/clemente21. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Sunday, September 27th. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” The recognition was renamed to the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Previous Cardinals to win the Roberto Clemente Award include Yadier Molina (2018), Carlos Beltran (2013), Albert Pujols (2008), Ozzie Smith (1995) and Lou Brock (1975). More information and award nominees for all 30 MLB teams can be found at mlb.com/clemente21