CHICAGO -- Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets has been named the recipient of the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award, the most prestigious individual player award from Major League Baseball. Granderson's selection was officially announced by Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. at a press conference prior to Game Three of the 112th World Series. Granderson is the fourth Mets player to win the Roberto Clemente Award, joining Gary Carter (1989), Al Leiter (2000) and Carlos Delgado (2006).
Throughout his career, Granderson, a native of Lynwood, Illinois, has been a significant contributor within every community in which he has played and lived. In 2007, he created the Grand Kids Foundation to improve educational experiences for young people nationwide and to establish additional baseball opportunities for inner-city youth in his hometown of Chicago. Curtis personally donated $5 million toward a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor youth baseball academy at his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago. The complex was renamed "Curtis Granderson Stadium" and opened in 2014. The facility provides nearly 10,000 Chicago youth with the opportunity to play in a safe environment year-round. Additionally, the outfielder holds multiple baseball clinics throughout the year in Chicago, his baseball home in New York and his Spring Training home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (*Granderson's official Roberto Clemente Award nomination bio in the separate attachment*)
"Curtis Granderson is an outstanding ambassador for our game and a positive role model for kids," said Commissioner Manfred. "His commitment to the many communities that have touched his life and the great impact of these efforts makes him a very deserving recipient of our most prestigious award. On behalf of Major League Baseball and all of our Clubs, I congratulate Curtis and thank him and all of our nominees this year for everything they do to make a difference in the lives of others."
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a Major League 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. The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the "Commissioner's Award," but was renamed 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.
Vera Clemente said: "It brought me great joy to read about Curtis and the positive impact he has made in New York, Florida and especially his hometown of Chicago. Roberto dedicated so much of his time giving back to those in need, and I know he would be proud to see the many lives Curtis has touched. I thank Curtis for his efforts and welcome him to the family of Roberto Clemente Award winners."
Granderson was selected from a list of 30 Club nominees by a distinguished panel that included Commissioner Manfred; Vera Clemente; Hall of Fame Broadcaster and the "Spanish-Language Voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers" Jaime Jarrín; MLB Network analysts and former Roberto Clemente Award winners Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds (also of FOX Sports); ESPN analysts Jessica Mendoza and Chris Singleton; FOX Sports Broadcasters Joe Buck and John Smoltz (also of MLB Network); TBS analysts Ron Darling and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez (both also of MLB Network); MLB.com Vice President & Executive Editor Carlton Thompson; MLB.com Reporter Jesse Sanchez; Baseball Writers' Association of America President Derrick Goold; and others. Additionally, fans were able to vote for the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on social media for the first time by posting hashtags to Twitter and Facebook.