Major League Baseball today announced that Carlos Carrasco was named the Cleveland Indians 2016 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.
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.
Each Club nominates one current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character. Wednesday, September 7th marks the fifteenth annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially acknowledge local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.
Carrasco is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award. "Cookie" has continued to impact the Northeast Ohio community through charitable efforts, including:
- Partnering with the United Way of Greater Cleveland on a book drive this summer
- Visiting patients at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
- Donating books and reading to children at Cleveland's Luis Munoz Marin School
- Speaking to Spanish-as-a-second-language class at Oberlin College
- Carrasco also impacted the Goodyear, Ariz., community, the Tribe's Spring Training home; he helped build a playground in that city for underserved children
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans can participate in the process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on social media for the first time by posting voting hashtags to Twitter and Facebook. Indians fans can vote for Carrasco by using #VoteCookie.
To enhance Roberto Clemente Day and celebrate Clemente's enduring legacy in 2016, Major League Baseball worked with the 30 Clubs to establish SEAT 21. SEAT 21 will be a designated seat in each ballpark on Roberto Clemente Day (or alternate home game for Clubs on the road) dedicated to a well-known or local hero originally from the community who will be recognized in addition to the Club Clemente Award nominee. Recognizing individuals who embody the humanitarian spirit of Roberto Clemente is a natural extension of the current honor bestowed upon players each year and gives MLB and the Clubs the opportunity to further extend the message of service and commitment.
The Indians SEAT 21 will be dedicated to Victor A. Ruiz, the Executive Director of Esperanza, Inc. - the organization's mission is to improve the academic achievement of Hispanics in Greater Cleveland by supporting students to graduate high school and promoting post-secondary educational attainment.
Under Ruiz's direction, Esperanza has been a leader in addressing the educational needs of Cleveland's growing Hispanic community. As a result of the group's effort, the high school graduation rate of Cleveland's Hispanic youth has doubled since 2010. The organization has received national and local recognition for its work, including being named a 2015 Bright Spot in Hispanic Education by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and receiving the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Community Organization Award from the Cleveland Foundation in 2012.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the "Commissioner's Award," but 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. Each September since 2002, Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day.