New Year’s Eve will celebrate fiftieth birthdayThe tenth Anniversary of the tragic death of Roberto Clemente.
The great baseball player was killed in a plane crash off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was part of a humanitarian effort transporting food and supplies to earthquake-devastated Nicaragua.
Although a lot of time has passed since the death of the right-handed Hall of Fame player and Pittsburgh Pirates legend, his memory lives on in baseball. Each year, Major League Baseball presents the Roberto Clemente Award to the player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community engagement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
September 15 is MLB’s annual Roberto Clemente Day and this year’s award winner will be announced live at MLB Network’s MLB Network show that will air at 6 p.m. ET from Citi Field in New York before the Mets host the Pirates. The game will be broadcast on TV by Fox starting at 7 PM
Also, at 7 p.m. MLB Network will be broadcasting the new “MLB Tonight: A Conversation” show. It will be hosted by Harold Reynolds and Pedro Martinez and will include guest guests from Clemente Award winners Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, Ozzy Smith, Rod Carew, Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz.
It reveals to us to hear what the Clementi Award means to these winners.
Hall of Fame inductee Derek Jeter was a 14-time All-Star with the New York Yankees while winning five Gold Gloves, five Silver Players and five World Championship rings. However, he does not put any of these awards and accomplishments ahead of the Clemente Award.
Jeter, who won the award in 2009, said: “He’s right there at the top because it’s not just about what I did on the court. I think you walk around and you ask everyone in the game about Roberto Clemente, the first thing that comes to mind is all the work he’s done in Community… Then your mind goes to just what he defended, not just his on-court stats and the fact that he’s a Hall of Fame baseball player but how much he’s giving back to his intended community.”
Another former shortstop star, Jimmy Rollins, echoed Jeter’s sentiments. Rollins was the 2014 award winner in the later stages of a 17-year career which included the 2007 National League Player of the Year award with the Philadelphia Phillies, four Golden Gloves and three All-Star Game.
“That’s definitely over the top, and it’s for all her uniforms,” Rollins said. “The uniform gives us a platform to influence the communities in which we play, but also we get respect in those communities in a different way. When they see us, sometimes, as human and superhuman because we’re just on TV and we’ve reached the pinnacle of our dream.
“So we have a chance to get out of that, for me to get the kids out into the field and talk to them and meet them on their ‘level’ to humanize myself, that’s what that means. Yes, I’ve been successful, but above all I’m human first and I care about people.”
While many award winners never had the opportunity to meet Clemente, Hall of Famer Rod Carew did. Carew’s career overlapped with recent seasons of Clemente, and although they’ve played in various leagues, they’ve had the chance to visit at the All-Star Games.
His conversations with Clemente remain among the most cherished moments of Carew’s career, highlighted by his seven MLS titles.
Caro keeps the Clemente Award, which he won in 1977, front and center in his home.
“It’s the first thing I show people when they come to my house because it’s about a great person, a great humanitarian, and he cared about people,” said Caro.