Carlos Beltran of the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals was named the recipient of the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet at a press conference prior to Game Three of the World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The annual Award recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. It is named for 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.
"Major League Baseball is thrilled to present our most prestigious off-field honor, the Roberto Clemente Award, to a fellow, gifted Puerto Rican standout, Carlos Beltran," Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. "It is an honor to recognize one of our game's most accomplished players and his wife, Jessica, for their extraordinary work through the Carlos Beltran Foundation and the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. Their family's commitment to making a difference in the lives of young people in St. Louis and their home of Puerto Rico is a powerful example for others and a testament to the philanthropic spirit of Roberto Clemente."
Carlos and Jessica Beltran founded the Carlos Beltran Foundation with the mission of empowering young people to achieve their dreams through sports and education. The Foundation strives to provide a dynamic learning experience where young people can develop and enhance their athletic gifts and excel academically. As part of the Foundation's efforts, the Beltrans opened the "Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy" (CBBA) in Puerto Rico, which was created to develop talented young athletes while offering a first-rate education in a specialized training program that teaches students to approach their academic career with discipline. Beltran, who has personally given more than $4 million toward the Academy, created the CBBA as a means of giving others the opportunities that he did not have when he was a teenager in Puerto Rico.
Opening its doors for the first time on August 24, 2011, the 2013 graduating class of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy had 43 seniors either moving on to collegiate baseball programs or that have been selected in the MLB Player Draft. Each year, the Beltrans raise money through various fundraising events in St. Louis and Puerto Rico to keep the CBBA on the cutting edge and provide the kids of Puerto Rico with the best learning environment possible. Since joining the Cardinals in 2012, Beltran has made an impact, on and off the field, entrenching himself and his family in the local community. He has committed his time and donations to various initiatives and groups throughout St. Louis, including: "Baskets of Hope" with the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, bringing smiles to the faces of young children in need of one; his "Beltran's Buddies" program for which he provides game tickets and meets with underprivileged kids through the Latino Outreach Group; and the "Carlos Beltran Scholarship Award" program with the Hispanic Arts Council that offers eight $2,500 scholarships..
"I've said many times throughout my career, the impact Roberto Clemente has had on me, not only as a baseball player, but also as a humanitarian and Puerto Rican," said Beltran. "I am so humbled and blessed that God has given me the opportunity to help others and make an impact on the lives of children, just as Roberto did for many years. I have had many people support me throughout my career and I am just proud to share this honor with them."
Beltran is the fourth member of the St. Louis Cardinals to receive the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet, joining nine-time All-Star Albert Pujols and Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith. He was selected from a list of 30 Club nominees by a panel of dignitaries that included Commissioner Selig; MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of Roberto Clemente, Vera Clemente; Hall of Fame Broadcaster and the "Spanish Voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers" Jaime Jarrin; Hall of Fame Broadcaster and former All-Star Tim McCarver; FOX Broadcaster Joe Buck; MLB Network analysts and former Roberto Clemente Award winners Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds; Hall of Famer, ESPN analyst and former Roberto Clemente Award winner Barry Larkin; ESPN analyst and former Roberto Clemente Award winner Rick Sutcliffe; Hall of Famer and TBS analyst Dennis Eckersley; TBS broadcaster Buck Martinez; MLB.com senior correspondent Hal Bodley; and Mike Weidman, National Promotions Manager with Chevrolet. Additionally, fans were able to cast a vote for the award, and the winner of the fan vote was tallied as one vote among those cast by the selection panel. Beltran is the seventh recipient to be honored with the Award while his team was playing in the World Series.
"I am very happy to congratulate Carlos Beltran on being named the recipient of this year's Roberto Clemente Award," said Vera Clemente. "I have seen the wonderful work he has done with the youth of Puerto Rico, including setting up his own Baseball Academy. My family and I are proud to add Carlos to the list of players who are helping to keep Roberto's legacy alive."
On the field, Beltran remains a model of consistency, batting .296 and leading the Cardinals in home runs (24) for a second consecutive season. The Puerto Rico native was elected to his eighth All-Star Game and made his second career start after leading National League outfielders in fan voting. The 36-year-old has reached the 20-home run plateau in three consecutive seasons for the first time since doing so from 2006-08 for the New York Mets. The switch-hitting slugger, who recorded his 350th career home run on June 15th against the Marlins in Miami, now has 358 career home runs, which ranks fifth all-time among switch-hitters. Beltran is playing in his first World Series after playing in 26 League Championship Games and in 2,064 regular season games, which had ranked as the third-most among active players who had not appeared in a Fall Classic. His 37 career Postseason RBI rank seventh all-time and his 16 career Postseason home runs rank eighth all-time.
Beltran joins a distinguished list of national Roberto Clemente Award recipients, which includes 14 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
|1971 Willie Mays*||1982 Ken Singleton||1993 Barry Larkin*||2004 Edgar Martinez|
|1972 Brooks Robinson*||1983 Cecil Cooper||1994 Dave Winfield*||2005 John Smoltz|
|1973 Al Kaline*||1984 Ron Guidry||1995 Ozzie Smith*||2006 Carlos Delgado|
|1974 Willie Stargell*||1985 Don Baylor||1996 Kirby Puckett*||2007 Craig Biggio|
|1975 Lou Brock*||1986 Garry Maddox||1997 Eric Davis||2008 Albert Pujols|
|1976 Pete Rose||1987 Rick Sutcliffe||1998 Sammy Sosa||2009 Derek Jeter|
|1977 Rod Carew*||1988 Dale Murphy||1999 Tony Gwynn*||2010 Tim Wakefield|
|1978 Greg Luzinski||1989 Gary Carter*||2000 Al Leiter||2011 David Ortiz|
|1979 Andre Thornton||1990 Dave Stewart||2001 Curt Schilling||2012 Clayton Kershaw|
|1980 Phil Niekro*||1991 Harold Reynolds||2002 Jim Thome||2013 Carlos Beltran|
|1981 Steve Garvey||1992 Cal Ripken, Jr.*||2003 Jamie Moyer|
* Member of The National Baseball Hall of Fame
For a full biography of Beltran's charitable endeavors, please visit the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet page at ChevyBaseball.com. For more information about the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, please visit CarlosBeltranAcademy.org.