Career Achievements: He played the outfield during 2 World Series batting .310 in 1960 vs. New York Yankees and .414 in 1971 vs. Baltimore. During the 1971 World Series he was the MVP. In 1966, he was the National League’s Most Valuable Player. During 18 seasons he won 12 Gold Gloves. Roberto Clemente represented the Pittsburgh Pirates in 12 All Star Games. He was the National League Batting Champion four times.
On September 30, 1972, Roberto Clemente hit a double to earn his 3,000th Major League hit. It was to be his last.
1972, New Year’s Eve Roberto Clemente boarded a plane to deliver relief supplies to earthquake stricken Nicaragua. Shortly after takeoff, the plan crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, near his beloved Puerto Rico. There were no survivors. His body was never found. Roberto Clemente’s death shocked the world.
The Baseball Writers of America, on August 6, 1973, posthumously inducted Roberto Clemente Walker into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He became the first Hispanic player to enter the Hall of Fame. He is the only player in the Hall of Fame I Cooperstown with exactly 3,000 hits.
Almost 33 years after his death, today, Roberto Clemente is remembered as the greatest athlete humanitarian of all time. One of Clemente’s dreams, the “Roberto Clemente Ciudad Deportiva” is just part of the legacy he left behind. His name is perpetuated all over the world through the endeavors of his widow Vera Clemente. His sons Roberto Jr., Luis Roberto and Roberto Enrique also continue working towards the success of the 304 acre Ciudad Deportiva sports complex in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Roberto Clemente has stood for more than just a Latino baseball player. The name extends into a much larger scope. Roberto Clemente personifies the generous spirit of the Latin American people.
With the ultimate sacrifice of his life, for the first time in Major League Baseball history the players took a serious look at their role in society. The players were shocked to acknowledge that they owed something to the community who supported their game; they needed to be recognized for more than their achievements on the diamond of baseball. Thus, it was the beginning of the start-up by the players of many Charitable Foundations.
Major League Baseball had been struggling with the issue of greater contribution to society from their baseball players. Since 1971, the Office of Commissioner Bowie Kuhn annually presented an Award to the player who best exemplified the game of baseball. The Award recognized on-field excellence and commitment to community service. It was called the “Commissioner’s Award”. Willie Mays of San Francisco was the first to be honored. Brooks Robinson of Baltimore was honored in 1972.
In 1973, the Award was renamed the Roberto Clemente Award and Al Kaline of Detroit was honored.
“Roberto Clemente’s passion for the game of baseball and commitment to making a difference in the lives of those in need transcends time and continues to have an impact to this day” said Commissioner Selig. “The Award given in Clemente’s honor recognizes a baseball player who not only puts his time and energy into the game of baseball, but extends that energy in the community”.
Edgar Martínez of Seattle received the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004. Two other Latino players; Rod Carew-1977 and Sammy Sosa-1998, are on the prestigious list of awardees.
A panel of baseball dignitaries, including Vera Clemente and Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig selected a winner from this year’s list of 30 nominees, one from each Major League Baseball Club. Cleveland Indians pitcher, Cliff Lee, Detroit Tigers pitcher, Mike Maroth, Cincinnati Reds 1st base, Sean Casey, New York Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada, and St. Louis Cardinals 1st base, Albert Pujols, were among the 2005 candidates.
The 30 club nominees were announced in September as part of Roberto Clemente Day, established by Major League Baseball in 2002 to honor his memory. In recognition of the Roberto Clemente Award, John Hancock Financial Services makes a $2,500 contribution to each nominee’s charity of choice.
The sponsor John Hancock presented this year’s Roberto Clemente Award recipient with a check for $25,000 and a $30,000.contribution in the winner’s name to Roberto Clemente Sports City, the multi-purpose sports and education center in Puerto Rico.
John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves pitcher, was selected as the recipient of the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award. “I am truly honored by this prestigious Award. To be associated with the great Roberto Clemente is something we all try to emulate – this is the greatest honor of my career,” said Smoltz. “I accept this with tremendous humility and pride because this goes way beyond baseball. It affects the lives of others in a positive way and that is very satisfying.”
The John and Dylan Smoltz Foundation support many philanthropic endeavors. In addition to Smoltz work to support education and youth baseball, the Atlanta pitcher is spokesperson for National Hunger Awareness Day. His “Strike Out Hunger’ campaign donates $100.every time he records a strikeout and has raised $300,000 and 70,000 pounds of food since 1997.
“My congratulations to John Smoltz on his selection as the recipient of the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award” said Vera Clemente. “His performance on the field and dedication and commitment to the community embody the spirit of this Award.”
Roberto Clemente’s legacy represents more than just a Latino baseball player. Roberto Clemente personifies benevolence. Roberto Clemente reaffirms the generous spirit of the Latin-American people and further promotes the contributions to the community by the Major League Baseball Players.
The 2005 Awards Continue……
“COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR” – 2005 Inaugural Award presented by PfizerViagra
“The Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award embodies an athlete’s desire to play at the highest level,” said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball.
“The comeback is one of the most inspiring stories in sports”. The Award recognizes those players who have “re-emerged” on the baseball field during a given season
NATIONAL LEAGUE – Ken Griffey, Jr. – OF/Cincinnati Reds, with 128 games, 148 hits, 85 runs, 35 HR, 92 RBI’s, 54 walks, 93 strikeouts.
AMERICAN LEAGUE – Jason Giambi – 1B/New York Yankees, with 139 games, 113 hits, 74 runs, 32 HR, 87 RBI’s, 108 walks,109 strikeouts.
“HANK AARON AWARD” – presented by Century 21
The Award was created in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record. The Award is decided by combining the player’s number of hits, home runs and RBIs.
NATIONAL LEAGUE – Andruw Jones – OF/Atlanta Braves
AMERICAN LEAGUE – David Ortiz – DH/Boston Red Sox
The complete list of the Hank Aaron Award winners:
2004 Barry Bonds Manny Ramírez
2003 Albert Pujols Alex Rodríguez
2002 Barry Bonds Alex Rodríguez
2001 Barry Bonds Alex Rodríguez
2000 Todd Helton Carlos Delgado
1999 Sammy Sosa Manny Ramírez.
“DELIVERY MAN OF THE YEAR” – 2005 Inaugural Award presented by DHL
Mariano Rivera – Pitcher/Closer - New York Yankees
43 games saved in 47 opportunities, 1.43 ERA, striking out 80 over 78.1 innings, allowing 50 hits. Rivera’s 379 saves are the most ever in the American League. In recognition of the Award, DHL will donate $5,000 to a local chapter of the Boys & girls Clubs, the official charity of Major League Baseball
The “ROOKIE OF THE YEAR” was first awarded in 1947 by the Baseball Writers Association to Jackie Robinson – 2nd baseman/Brooklyn Dodgers.
2005 “Rookie of the Year”
NATIONAL LEAGUE – Ryan Howard – 1B/Philadelphia Phillies
AMERICAN LEAGUE – Huston Street – Relief Pitcher/Oakland Athletics
Other Rookies who received votes – Willy Taveras/Astros - Jason Vargas/Marlins Robinson Cano/Yankees - Jonny Gómes/Devil Rays - Gustavo Chacin/ Blue Jays
“CY YOUNG AWARD”
NATIONAL LEAGUE – Chris Carpenter, right hand pitcher/St. Louis Cardinals.
Win/loss record 21-5, 2.83 ERA, 213 strikeouts, 51 walks over 241-2/3 innings. Carpenter pitched 7 complete games and 4 shutouts.
AMERICAN LEAGUE – Bartolo Colon, right hand pitcher/L.A. Angels of Anaheim. He becomes the Angels first pitcher in 41 year to take home the honor. Colon finished the season 21-8, 3.48 ERA, 157 strikeouts, pitched 222-2/3 innings. Colon gets $500,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young Award.
“MANAGER OF THE YEAR”
NATIONAL LEAGUE – Bobby Cox
The Atlanta Braves have won a record 14 straight Division titles. Bobby Cox takes home his fourth Manager of the Year Award.
AMERICAN LEAGUE – Ozzie Guillen
Awarded for guiding the Chicago White Sox to a championship season, and winning the 2005 World Series.
Presidential “MEDAL OF FREEDOM AWARD” – Highest Civilian Honor
Presentation by President George W. Bush
Frank Robinson – 70 years old - Manager – Washington Nationals
The medal was awarded for his accomplishments during 50 years in Baseball. Player 1956-1976. He won the “MVP” Most Valuable Player in both the National League Cincinnati/1961 and American League, Baltimore/1966. In 1975 he became the first African-American Manager with the Cleveland Indians. Although he began his career and played 10 seasons with Cincinnati, he chose a Baltimore Orioles cap when in 1982 he was inducted in the Hall of Fame.
“MOST VALUABLE PLAYER” MVP Award
NATIONAL LEAGUE – Albert Pujols – 1B/St. Louis Cardinals
Pujols received 18 of the 32 first place votes and 14 second-place votes for 378 points. He led the league in runs scored, finished 2nd in batting average (.330), RBIs (117), slugging (.609), on-base percentage (.430), total bases (360). Pujols also ranked among the leaders in hits (195 - 4th), home runs (41-3rd), walks (sixth) and extra-base hits (third). In 2005, the Cardinals are the first National League team since the 1991 Braves to have won both the Cy Young Award and the MVP.
AMERICAN LEAGUE – Alex Rodríguez – 3B/New York Yankees
A-Rod received 16 of the 29 first place votes and 11 second-place votes for 331 points. He finished the season with a .321 average, 130 RBIs and an AL leading 48 home runs. He ranked in the top five in the AL in home runs (1st), RBIs (4th), batting average (2nd), slugging percentage (1st), on-base percentage (2nd), walks (3rd). Rodríguez’s award is the 19th in Yankees history, the most of any baseball franchise. He is the first Yankees MVP since Don Mattingly won in 1985. Alex Rodríguez won the MVP in 2003 as shortstop with the Texas Rangers. He becomes only the 4th player to win the MVP at two positions.
Amigos y Amigas de La Prensa, I wish you a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.