Each year since 1971, Major League Baseball has awarded one player with the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. The award is reserved for the MLB player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and kindness. The award winners are typically heavily involved in their respective communities and exhibit extraordinary character. Annually, each ball club nominates one player to be considered for the award. The Cardinal’s 2018 nominee was Yadier Molina.
After the nominees are selected, a Blue Ribbon Panel votes on who they believe is deserving of the award. This panel includes, Robert Manfred, the current MLB Goodwill Ambassador (Clemente’s wife), and other representatives from MLB- affiliated networks. Fans also can cast their votes. The winner of fan voting is decided and then counts as one Blue- Ribbon vote.
This year, the winner is St. Louis Cardinals star catcher Yadier Molina. Quietly, Molina’s efforts have painted him to be a hero as much off of the field as he is behind the plate. Molina is truly something special. After being selected he stated that it is, “ a great honor because Clemente is a legend, and my hero… he showed me that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can help people, and that is my goal.”
For those who follow Molina via social media, it is clear that he is very active off of the field. His drive on the field is no doubt inspiring. More incredible however is what Molina does when he is not playing baseball. Last year, Hurricane Maria devastated his home island of Puerto Rico. Molina went to work to bring aid and personally flew in to help. Yadi brought crates of supplies, and spent time on the ground clearing debris and helped to rebuild following the storm.
13.2k Likes, 227 Comments – @yadier_marciano_molina on Instagram: “Fundacion 4 Cayey Puerto Rico”
Yadi is tireless in all aspects of the game. This is undeniably noticed by his endurance shown throughout the season. At 36 years old, he still the leader fo this team that is full of young players. His ability to see the game like nobody else can, and direct the other players is truly special.
Molina also has a foundation that benefits children who are impacted by abuse, cancer, or poverty. His foundation has been helping children in Puerto Rico since 2010. Yadi also supports Cardinals Care, and other efforts in the St Louis Area raising over $800,000 to date. Molina is no doubt deserving of this very meaningful and special award. Molina’s large hears shows both in, and out of the ballpark.
More about Roberto Clemente:
Roberto Clemente Walker was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame on March 20, 1973. Clemente was known for his skills on the baseball field, but also for his charity work. A man taken from this world too early. He died while accompanying a cargo plane to Nicaragua attempting to bring aid following a massive earthquake. The Baseball Writers Association of America held a special vote to wave the waiting period requirement and induct Clemente into the Hall of Fame. The vote passed, and Clemente received 92.7% of the votes.
Clemente had a career .317 batting average while collecting 3,000 hits. He was a 15 time All-Star, NL MVP (1966), 12-time Gold Glove winner, and has his number retired in Pittsburgh. He was also the 1971 World Series MVP. As Yadier was quoted saying, Clemente was a “legend.” Roberto spent most of his off seasons delivering baseball equipment to Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as food to those in need.
MLB began awarding the “Commissioners Award” in 1971. Following Clemente’s death in 1973, the MLB renamed the award to the Roberto Clemente Award. Notable Cardinal winners of the award include: Albert Pujols, Ozzie Smith, and Lou Brock. To date, no player has ever won the award more than one time.