Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers has won this year's Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, sponsored by the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. The award is presented annually by Phi Delta Theta to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the giving character of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, a member of the Fraternity's Columbia University chapter. The award was first presented in 1955 and is permanently maintained at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. A team of representatives from Phi Delta Theta will present the award to Beltre on Thursday, Sept. 17 when the Rangers take on the Houston Astros at 7:05 p.m. at Global Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Beltre, a four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, began his career in 1998 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During this time, he was the youngest player in Major League Baseball. In 2004, Beltre led the MLB with 48 home runs, and was honored with the Babe Ruth Home Run Award. After playing for the Seattle Mariners from 2005 to 2009 and then the Boston Red Sox in 2010, Beltre joined the Rangers in the 2011. During his first season, he became the sixth player ever to hit three home runs in a Major League playoff game. On May 7, 2014, Beltre hit his 100th home run as a member of the Rangers, becoming only the 5th player in Major League History to hit 100 home runs with 3 different teams. He finished the 2014 season batting .324, his highest average since 2004, with 19 home runs, and 77 RBI's in 148 games. Beltre entered the 2015 season with 2,341 games played at third base, the third most in Major League Baseball history.
Beltre's determination on the field as well as his commitment to charity off the field makes him a worthy recipient of the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. Throughout the last five seasons, Beltre has donated $500,000 to the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and has continuously supported the Texas Ranger RBI program in the DFW Metroplex. His financial contribution has allowed the Foundation to expand their RBI program, and due to his generosity, the Rangers were able to secure the bid to host the RBI World Series.
Beltre is also involved in the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation's major fundraiser of the year, the Park Place Dealership Triple Play. Every year, Adrian participates in the Fielder's Feud portion of the game and hand selects the "rookie song". Adrian has also provided financial support of $30,000 over the years to the I Love Baseball program in the Dominican Republic. The mission of this program is to unite the youth of the nation through the game of baseball and inspire them to act as leaders in their communities.
Adrian is also is very supportive of his former and current teammates charitable endeavors, making donations to organizations such as David Valle's Ezperanza International, the Robinson Chirinos Foundation to assist with backpacks and school supplies for underprivileged children in the DFW Metroplex, the Michael Young Family Foundation in their efforts to assist pediatric cancer patients, the Eddie Guardado Foundation in their efforts to provide funds for Autism Speaks, the Joakim Soria Foundation to provide relief efforts in Mexico, and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive. In addition, he has consistently provided private funding for an individual undergoing cancer treatment.
Adrian received the MLB local Roberto Clemente Award in 2013 and 2014 for his community contributions and received the 2014 MLBPAA Heart and Hustle Award. He is the first member of the Texas Rangers to win the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. For detailed information about the history of the award, visit www.LouGehrigAward.org.