There is something very special about David Peralta’s love of the game. Whether it is his upbringing in Venezuela or his unique path to the big leagues, the absolute enthusiasm he brings to the ballpark every day makes him an irreplaceable leader on and off the field.
The Roberto Clemente Award is bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Every year, each MLB Club nominates a player to be considered for the Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character. This year's list of nominees features players whose various community and philanthropic activities have focused on important issues ranging from awareness & fundraising to support those with cancer and other illnesses or special needs, education for young people, natural disaster relief, outreach to underserved children & communities in the United States and abroad, and more.
2021 Winner: Nelson Cruz
The Roberto Clemente Award is bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Every year, each MLB Club nominates a player to be considered for the Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character. This year's list of nominees features players whose various community and philanthropic activities have focused on important issues ranging from awareness & fundraising to support those with cancer and other illnesses or special needs, education for young people, natural disaster relief, outreach to underserved children & communities in the United States and abroad, and more.
Read about all of the nominees below.
2021 Roberto Clemente Award Nominees
David’s commitment to the children of Arizona and his impact on the game experience for fans is demonstrated in his superhero energy and the joy he expresses in supporting charitable causes in Arizona and Venezuela. From learning English by watching “Friends,” to his special appointment as the Clubhouse DJ and TikTok star, Peralta’s spirit and contagious energy have captured the hearts of an entire fan base.
As the D-backs most tenured active-roster player and a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger recipient, the veteran outfielder, affectionately named the Freight Train, has certainly led the way in supporting causes in the Club’s community. David and his wife, Jordan, are united in their involvement with a number of causes, including supporting children battling cancer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, finding hunger solutions through St. Mary’s Food Bank, supporting families affected by cancer through The Singletons, inspiring children to play ball through local Boys & Girls Clubs and embracing the gift of education through his endless appearances in the Arizona community.
In 2020, David and Jordan supported the construction of David Peralta Field in Wickenburg, Ariz. David Peralta Field marks the 43rd field in the Diamondbacks Field Building program. Despite the restrictions due to COVID, David, Jordan and their daughter, Sophia, made the trip to Wickenburg for the virtual dedication and reveal of the stunning field.
As the season launched in 2020, David noted the absence of two things – fans at the ballpark and trips to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Therefore, David worked with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation to create an entire section of giant teddy bears to symbolize and support the children at the hospital. At the end of the season, a set of new bears were delivered to Phoenix Children’s along with a donation reflecting home runs hit into the left field section.
In 2021, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation teamed up with David to publish Freight Train Saves the Day – an adorable storybook about the power of kindness shaped by the Freight Train himself. In the story, David teaches little D-backs fan, Kate, to keep trying despite her struggles to learn to play the game. The Freight Train Saves the Day book is provided for free for children in the Sandlots at Chase Field and at different team community appearances.
Additionally, in 2021 David teamed up with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and Phoenix Children’s to purchase a telemedicine robot named HOPE. HOPE The Robot has allowed David and his teammates to visit with children at Phoenix Children’s via two-way robot and iPad technology. Before each visit, the patients receive gear and gifts from David and the D-backs.
Outside of the ballpark, David and Jordan have been pillars of generosity in the community, working alongside the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation to make huge contributions to St. Mary’s Food Bank for food pantries in low-income elementary schools. They have made leadership gifts to The Singletons, a local organization that supports single parents battling cancer, and they have championed and chaired fundraisers for The Singletons and Chrysalis.
Lastly, David’s love and concern for his home in Venezuela are always at the forefront of his efforts and generosity. Through David Peralta’s Fund for Venezuela, David delivers substantial donations of baseball gear, equipment and financial support for local causes, including medical care, hunger and more. He has teamed up with other MLB stars to raise funds and give back to the people of Venezuela.
Born and raised in metro-Atlanta, Will Smith was excited to join his hometown team following the 2019 season. At the start of 2020, before ever pitching in a game for the Atlanta Braves, he immediately became involved in the Braves Country community, serving at the local animal shelter and helping with homeless pet adoptions.
Will's desire to help his local community grew even deeper in the spring of 2021 after a devastating tornado touched down in his hometown of Newnan, Ga. Newnan High School was drastically affected by the storm, and their baseball field and locker room were suddenly completely unusable. With the varsity baseball team left without a field to play their final home games of the season, Will reached out to ask how the Atlanta Braves could help. Truist Park quickly became home of the Newnan High School baseball team's "Senior Night," an opportunity for the team to recognize the seniors and give them a proper sendoff to their next adventure. Families, friends and community members all gathered at Truist Park on April 21 as Newnan High School took on Pebblebrook High School in the final game of the regular high school baseball season.
In addition to the special experience shared at the ballpark, Will rallied the Braves clubhouse around an online charity auction, benefiting local charities in Coweta County. Proceeds would help to rebuild the community and provide resources for families affected by the storm. He led the charge by getting numerous items autographed by his teammates and promised to match all funds raised through the auction.
Will Smith's generosity and passion to provide relief for his neighbors in Newnan led to a $38,000 donation to the Coweta Community Foundation and Backpack Buddies of Georgia. These grants have provided ongoing funding for hotel accommodations and long-term housing solutions for dislocated disaster victims, youth programs for children affected by the tornado, food and family support programs, and more.
By now, you have probably heard the story… Baltimore Orioles infielder Trey Mancini, a 27-year-old athlete coming off the best season of his career, is diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer during Spring Training of 2020.
As the world began to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trey had surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon, and just a few weeks later, began a six-month-long chemotherapy treatment that subsequently drained all energy and motivation from his body.
While the fight against colon cancer was no easy feat, Trey refused to let it define him. Instead, his diagnosis quickly became a springboard to giving back and inspiring those most in need. While baseball went to the backburner, fighting his cancer battle was quickly joined with making an impact and inspiring his community as his top priorities.
After his diagnosis and throughout his treatment, Trey became heavily involved with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance (CCA), joining their “Never Too Young” advisory board. He advocated for all young-onset patients and survivors and used his social platforms to raise awareness and critical funds for CCA. Trey, along with the Baltimore Orioles, launched the #F16HT campaign, which integrated his jersey number and the word ‘fight’ to inspire others to push through battles with illness, social injustice and, of course, COVID-19. The team sold “#F16HT” t-shirts, which raised more than $80,000, all to support the Colorectal Cancer Alliance Patient and Family Support Services.
While Trey has helped inspire those battling colon cancer, he also started The Trey Mancini Foundation, which works to support those who are facing illness, empowers those suffering from emotional trauma and assists those experiencing hardship. Trey has always been incredibly kind and passionate for helping others.
Though cancer awareness was not a part of the original mission of The Trey Mancini Foundation, they quickly took on this cause and launched a partnership with CCA. Trey lent his time through meet and greets and shared information on his social media channels regarding early detection and preventative measures for colon cancer. Trey worked with Squatty Potty, a toilet stool that positions your body in a natural, comfortable squat, to provide 10,000 colon cancer screenings to underserved communities.
Trey also recorded countless messages for fans who have reached out to him sharing stories of personal struggle. During National Cancer Survivors month in June, Trey met virtually with cancer survivors to discuss the victories and defeats of dealing with life after a cancer diagnosis. He also welcomed his oncologist from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center to throw out the first pitch.
Most recently, Trey’s foundation has partnered with a Frederick, Maryland branch of Blessings in a Backpack, a national organization that feeds elementary-aged children on weekends who face food insecurity. In July, The Trey Mancini Foundation, Blessings in a Backpack and the Orioles hosted an “essential items” drive raising more than $2,800 and collecting more than 1,000 pounds of food for children in need in the Baltimore Area.
Before the creation of his foundation, Trey hosted a charity tailgate that raised nearly $20,000 to support young Orioles superfan Mo Gaba, one of the most passionate and devoted fans in franchise history who endured four different battles with cancer. Trey and Mo had a close connection before Trey’s cancer diagnosis and Mo’s untimely passing in July of 2020. Trey invited Mo to Orioles games, took him out for different activities, visited him at his home and purchased clothing and meals for Mo and his mom, Sonsy.
Trey Mancini is a fierce competitor, an elite baseball player, a Home Run Derby runner-up and an inspiration for all generations through his determination to never give up the #F16HT.
Nate Eovaldi has been a fixture in the community since being traded to Boston in 2018. He has donated his time and money to support the Red Sox and the Red Sox Foundation, as well as the Jimmy Fund and the Greater Boston Food Bank.
The Jimmy Fund supports Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising funds for adult and pediatric cancer care and research to improve the chances of survival for cancer patients. Since its founding in 1948, the Jimmy Fund has raised millions of dollars through thousands of community fundraising events. Each year the Red Sox select a Jimmy Fund Captain. The Captain acts as an advocate and ambassador for the Jimmy Fund through several events and activities. The Captain represents the Red Sox in their relationship with the Jimmy Fund. Nate has always been supportive of the relationship, visiting with the patients during their trips to Fort Myers and Fenway Park as well as participating in the annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.
With the previous Captain departing for free agency, Nate wanted to become more involved and was named the Red Sox Captain for the 2021 season. Nate has recorded countless messages and PSAs for the clinic to help them raise much-needed funds. He made a personal monetary donation to the Annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon later in August.
In 2019 and again in 2020, Nate participated in the “Home Plate Project” with Big League Impact and the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. In each year, Nate made a $5,000 donation that was used to fight food insecurity.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nate has recorded countless video messages for children, doctors and nurses, among others. Given the restrictions on in-person visits, Nate has participated in virtual appearances via zoom.
While supporting specific causes near and dear to him, Nate also finds time to support the Red Sox community efforts including meet and greets and clinics at the ballpark with kids. He has supported the Golisano Children’s Hospital in Southwest Florida by attending their fundraising dinner in Fort Myers and visiting patients at the hospital. He has attended a fundraising dinner for the local Boys & Girls Club, signing autographs for those in attendance and participating in a panel discussion.
In 2019, Nate joined his teammates in visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center during the Red Sox trip to Washington, D.C. He is also supportive of the Red Sox Foundation, attending their annual Casino Night fundraiser in Fort Myers, signing autographs at Picnic in the Park and attending a special meet and greet mingle event in August 2019.
Nate is a leader on and off the field; thus, making him a worthy candidate for the Roberto Clemente Award.
The Chicago Cubs are honored to nominate outfielder Jason Heyward for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award. While Jason’s on-field performance during his 10-year professional baseball career has resulted in numerous accolades including National League All-Star, World Series champion and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Jason’s off-field commitment to social justice and efforts to address societal inequities are among his greatest achievements.
Selected in the 2007 MLB Draft out of high school by the Atlanta Braves, Jason began his career in baseball and service at the age of 17, giving back to the church and the young men of Atlanta through L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct). Throughout his career, Jason has quietly and humbly made an indelible impact in under-resourced communities by offering his generous support to address food insecurity, violence prevention and youth development, and has lent his influential voice to speak out against historic racial injustice.
Throughout the pandemic, Jason has contributed to several nonprofit organizations providing much-needed resources to Chicago communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Jason provided $100,000 to MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings), a nonprofit violence prevention organization; $100,000 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository; and $100,000 to the University of Chicago Medical Center for support of their health care workers and the adult and pediatric patients and families who were affected by COVID-19.
Jason has proudly been an active member of the Players Alliance directly participating in several Chicago-based events; providing contributions exceeding $270,000 to support the Alliance’s nationwide tour to provide more than 20,000 families with food and supplies and supporting the distribution of baseball equipment to children across the country.
In 2020, Jason teamed up with other local Chicago sports figures to participate in a healing circle with African American youth and police officers. Coming out of the healing circle, Jason contributed $75,000 to convert a liquor store into a food mart in Austin, a neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side which was impacted by protests and looting.
During his time in Chicago, Jason has graciously donated to multiple community organizations that work with youth and families in under-resourced communities in Chicago, including a recent donation to a West Side organization building a multi-purpose youth and community center; a $100,000 donation to Future Ties, a nonprofit on Chicago’s South Side which supports low-income families through summer and after-school programs, and helps parents build life skills and escape domestic violence; and $25,000 to SocialWorks to provide 100 low-income children the opportunity to attend the Kids of the Kingdom summer program and support 50 above minimum wage jobs to the community.
Jason has been a vocal advocate for More Than A Vote, Lebron James’ nonprofit established to encourage voter registration among African Americans ahead of the 2020 presidential election, provided dollars to the Muslim American Leadership Alliance to provide meals during Ramadan, mentored young people virtually to connect with the next generation of Black baseball players and leaders, and served as an ambassador for the Gear for Good Initiative to provide equipment donations.
Throughout Jason’s time with the Cubs, he has been a prominent contributor to Cubs Charities, with more than $116,000 in donations including support for Cubs RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), MLB’s youth outreach program dedicated to increasing participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth. In addition, Jason has contributed more than $95,000 to fellow Cubs player foundations and community efforts, demonstrating his commitment to his teammates.
Jason’s actions and leadership reflect his passion for the game, his team, and the causes closest to his heart. His commitment to address the inequities that communities of color face daily coupled with his generous support of the nonprofit sector and his passionate leadership as a member of the Cubs make Jason a strong candidate for the Roberto Clemente Award.
Since joining the White Sox organization in January, All-Star closer Liam Hendriks has shown immense and unwavering support to frontline workers, underserved community groups and individuals and businesses most heavily impacted by the ongoing public health crisis.
On the mound, Liam’s work ethic and fiery competitiveness have resulted in a long list of honors, including being named the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year last season, the AL Reliever of the Month in May 2021 and, most recently, the ninth inning closer to secure the eighth consecutive American League victory in the 2021 All-Star Game. This drive and fire burn even brighter through his ongoing commitment to those most in need throughout the community.
Creating the South Slydah Society upon his move to Chicago, Liam has donated nearly 1,000 meals from more than a dozen local, minority and family-owned small businesses to frontline workers across Chicagoland, including three platoons at Engine 29 Firehouse, healthcare workers at Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, volunteers at St. James Food Pantry, the local post office and staff from One Tail at a Time Chicago, among others. Notably, his contributions often are aimed at recognizing the unheralded frontline heroes and those who have stepped up to work tireless hours and ensure essential business operations are being met.
Liam also continues his long-standing support of the LGBTQ+ community, providing lunch and White Sox-branded gifts to staff at Center on Halsted, the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community, and Howard Brown Health 63rd St. in Englewood, one of the nation’s largest organizations committed to eliminating the disparities in healthcare experienced by this community. Additionally, Liam’s wife, Kristi, has devoted countless hours this season at Howard Brown Health pop-up vaccination clinics, greeting patients and providing the most up-to-date information surrounding the ongoing public health crisis.
His selfless generosity and financial support helped fund a White Sox home opener party at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in early April, where nearly 300 patients, family members and frontline workers received treats and White Sox gifts, as well as a special get-well message for the kids and a thank you video for the hard work and perseverance of staff. The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications’ 9-1-1 Center received a similar sentiment in July when Liam provided hundreds of White Sox ticket vouchers, South Slydah Society- branded hats and raffle items to more than 300 call center workers.
Liam’s impact extends far beyond the diamond and began long before joining the White Sox organization. As a member of the Oakland A’s – where he won the Dave Stewart Community Service Award and was twice the club’s nomination for the Roberto Clemente Award for his extraordinary character and charitable contributions to the community – Liam took a special interest in uplifting organizations focused on animal welfare, including Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue, Fetching Tails Foundation, Mission K-9, the Petco Foundation and the Rescue Me Thursday campaign.
Leading by example and committing time and resources to charitable initiatives founded by MLB and his peers across the league, Liam played an active role in Strike Out Bullying and MLB’s Shred Hate campaign, as well as Food for the Hungry and Striking Out Poverty, where he raised more than $50,000 for underprivileged communities in the Dominican Republic.
Since putting on a Reds uniform in 2007, Joey Votto has committed to and delivered when it comes to supporting the local community.
One of the most visible signs of the Reds and Major League Baseball’s impact in Cincinnati is the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy. Completed in 2014, the site’s indoor training center bears the Joey Votto name thanks to his philanthropy. But what makes Joey’s contributions even more special is that he has continued to be as involved at the Academy long after the ribbon-cutting. And he has elected to do so in a way that is consistent with most of his charitable work – privately and without fanfare.
Joey is a regular visitor to the Academy and is heavily involved in the impact it makes on young people in Reds Country. In addition to showing his generosity by donating thousands of dollars in equipment behind the scenes, Joey goes many steps beyond by participating in hands-on baseball and softball work with the kids training at the Academy. This year, Joey adopted a 13U RBI team and took them under his wing. While he was on the injured list, he worked out with the team several times each week. He offered coaching advice while also taking the field and practicing with them.
Even when he returned to the active roster, Joey continued to make stops at the Academy whenever he could. He spoke to and trained with the two Reds RBI teams that qualified for the 2021 RBI World Series before they headed to Vero Beach, Fla., for the tournament. Earlier in the summer, on his way to the ballpark for that night’s game against the Padres, Joey stopped at the Academy to speak to the group of Home Base program participants. Home Base is a comprehensive, week-long camp for high school baseball and softball players that combines individualized athletic training with academic test preparation and life skills development. He fielded questions from the attendees and asked them questions right back, genuinely curious to learn more about them and their experience with the program. The desire to truly engage young people in these situations is what sets Joey apart.
Working with kids has always been a passion of Joey’s. In addition to his work at the Academy, Joey is a frequent guest of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where he visits with patients. During the pandemic when these visits weren’t possible, he met with children virtually and sent recorded videos to kids before their surgeries.
At the ballpark, he also makes a point to spend extended time with all the Make-A-Wish visitors. Joey signs autographs, takes pictures and has conversations with them and their families. For games throughout the season, he also donates suites for Make-A-Wish visitors, guests from Reds RBI, as a donation for various fundraisers, and more.
In addition, he has long been a financial and public supporter of the Freestore Foodbank, whose goal is to create a hunger-free, healthy and thriving community. Well before and especially during the pandemic, Freestore has been instrumental in providing food and other essential resources to families in need. Votto has donated generously over the years and worn its gear in public settings to help raise awareness for the cause.
The six-time All-Star, former NL MVP and Gold Glover added to his on-field milestones this season when he joined the 300-home run and 1,000-RBI clubs. But long after a career that may well be commemorated in Cooperstown, it’s the extra five minutes he spent making a kid smile at the hospital or teaching fundamentals to an aspiring young ballplayer that will have left the biggest mark in Reds Country.
Cleveland Indians starter and 26-year-old Aaron Civale is a celebrity at the kids’ table each Thanksgiving in his East Windsor, Conn. home.
Aaron is surrounded by numerous younger cousins, separated in age by more than 10 years, and he has yet to give up his chair at the table. Time spent with his younger cousins is at the top of the list of his favorite offseason activities.
A big kid at heart, Aaron has combined his passion for kids with his family connection to cancer and childhood illness to create his Pearls for Perseverance player program in 2021. He and his fiancée, Fran Barilla, have teamed up to bring smiles and positivity to pediatric patients at the Cleveland Clinic. The right-hander signs his warm-up baseball before each start and ships the baseball to a friend in need at the Cleveland Clinic. Patients who receive baseballs often reach out to Aaron, and he and Fran schedule a Zoom call to connect with the patient and offer words of encouragement.
Aaron has partnered with Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti to host patients for batting practice at Progressive Field. He spends time talking with patients and their families, signing autographs for guests and taking photos to commemorate the on-field experience. It has become all-too-common for guests to leave with one of Aaron’s hats, gloves, or sunglasses—of course, all featuring his autograph.
His knowledge and enthusiasm for science brought him to the Great Lakes Science Center, where he volunteered at Camp Curiosity, a summer camp for youth in kindergarten through third grade focusing on STEM. Aaron’s father worked at a LEGO manufacturing company throughout Aaron’s childhood, and he brought lightly damaged LEGO kits home to his sons regularly. Aaron, who eventually went on to study mechanical engineering at Northeastern, and his brother would race to assemble the LEGO blocks the fastest, and Aaron always followed the instruction manual step-by-step. While at Camp Curiosity, Aaron assisted the campers in a LEGO challenge that required them to build a spherical baseball out of LEGO blocks in 20 minutes. The campers certainly benefited from his expertise and willingness to tie a few participants’ untied shoelaces.
Aaron also rallied his teammates’ support and represented the Indians organization at its PLAY BALL event, in partnership with Major League Baseball. Aaron, joined by his Major League teammates and members of several of the club’s Minor League affiliates, volunteered at various stations teaching the fundamentals of baseball and softball to participants from various foster care agencies.
Numerous youths in the Cleveland area have benefitted from Aaron’s thoughtfulness and knowledge throughout the 2021 season. The big kid in Cleveland is not ready to relinquish his seat at the kids’ table anytime soon.
Ian Desmond is a veteran player who is leading by example. The younger players are watching, and they see what he is doing. Ian has always been honored to accept the responsibility that goes with being a role model, and during these unusual years of navigating life with the coronavirus, he feels that to an even greater degree.
With such notable character, integrity and leadership skills, it is still an easy choice for our club to select our nominee. The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club proudly nominates Ian Desmond for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award.
For many years, the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) has been a core focus for Ian. Ian’s work with Neurofibromatosis advocacy, awareness and fundraising has been well recognized since 2012; he is a true leader in the NF community, and he continues to find new ways to use his platform for the purposes of ending NF.
On World NF Day last year, Ian Desmond participated in the first-ever live stream NF fundraiser, Home is Where the Heart Is, benefitting the Children’s Tumor Foundation. It was a star-studded lineup with numerous video messages and performances, with Ian featured in a live mid-show interview.
Although Ian was honored to participate in the event, he said he was longing for the day when he can be together again with his NF family. “One of my coaches asked me the other day, ‘What do you miss most besides your teammates?’ I said, ‘I miss my NF people.’ The meet-and-greets, the May Neurofibromatosis Month. The interactions on social media are still there, but not quite as strong as they are during the season. They are all unbelievably courageous human beings and I just know that it’s a little peace of mind and it will make their lives a little bit easier; knowing that there are people out there fighting specifically to find a cure for what they have.”
Before COVID-19 forced baseball to be played without fans in the stands last year, Ian had expanded his NF outreach by taking his campaign to end Neurofibromatosis to Major League ballparks across the country. Ian’s NF “meet-up” outings were put together by Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) volunteers working with CTF community members in cities where the Rockies played. Ian said the NF outings at the ballpark brought those dealing with the disorder closer together. “You can erase a lot of things in that three-hour window,” he explained. “It allows the community to come together to talk about each families’ struggles or each families’ great victories over the last year, or baseball, or whatever. It’s a chance for them to meet each other and have a blast at the game.”
In early 2020 Ian elected to forgo playing ball during the shortened MLB season, and he has chosen to do so again in 2021. During these unprecedented and uncertain times, he is reflective, and he decided that it was best to spend the time with his wife and children in their off-season hometown of Sarasota, Fla. This does not mean that Ian is stepping away from baseball. Last year he began working in his home community, reaching out to everyone involved to get the youth baseball programs, and specifically Sarasota Youth Baseball back on track. Says Ian, “It’s what I can do, in the scheme of so much. So, I am."
Miguel Cabrera is widely considered one of the best hitters in the history of baseball. The 2012 Triple Crown Winner, 11x All-Star, 2x MVP and 7x Silver Slugger award winner is also one of the game’s most caring, selfless and giving individuals.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miguel stepped up on and off the field to support the cause. In 2021, he joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to promote COVID-19 vaccinations in the State of Michigan. He served as a co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission. As part of this effort, Miguel recorded PSAs in English and Spanish to motivate residents to get vaccinated, wear masks and socially distance themselves to reduce the spread of the virus.
Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, Miguel and his wife, Rosangel, partnered with the Detroit Tigers Foundation, to donate $250,000 to benefit children and families in Detroit. The donation helped provide meals for children, technology for students, daycare for families and high-quality face masks for Detroiters through grants to the following community partners:
- The Detroit Public Schools Community District: $50,000 to aid in meal distribution to students and families. During the height of the pandemic, DPSCD provided approximately 120,000 meals across 19 Grab and Go sites. The donation provided the logistical support needed to ensure families continued to receive breakfast and lunch throughout the COVID-19 school closure.
- The Detroit Public Schools Foundation: $50,000 from the Cabrera family’s donation, which benefited the Connected Future initiative to help address the digital divide that exists for DPSCD students by providing tablets, six months of sponsored internet and IT support for all 51,000 DPSCD students. This donation contributed to making sure that all DPSCD students can access their teachers and online resources both during the COVID-19 closure and beyond.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) and Brilliant Detroit: $140,000 to support a collaboration to provide affordable childcare for families in Detroit. The Boys & Girls Club increased the number of youths served daily from 200 to 1,000 by June. Detroit PAL provided summer programming in-house for an estimated 230 youths across its programs, along with virtual programming for more than 1,000 children. Lastly, this donation allowed Brilliant Detroit to provide reading tutoring to 200 children, learn at-home kits to all participants and information to families regarding books, health, nutrition, parenting support classes and ways to work with children at home. In total, nearly 3,000 children benefited from this collaborative effort.
- G1 Impact: $10,000 to support a philanthropic collaboration to hire Detroiters to manufacture 100,000 reusable, hospital-grade masks for children and families in Detroit. The Cabrera family donation aided in purchasing 2,000 masks which were distributed to residents in the Durfee/Central High School area.
In addition to lending his financial support in 2020, Miguel lent his image and likeness to a US Census campaign encouraging Census completion in traditionally low participating communities. The campaign, in both English and Spanish, was targeted toward Latin and Hispanic families in Detroit and throughout Michigan.
Long before the COVID-19 crisis, Miguel’s dream of becoming an accomplished baseball player inspired him and Rosangel to establish the Miguel Cabrera Foundation, a charitable organization founded on Miguel’s belief that we can achieve great things when we:
WORK HARD, DREAM BIG, AND HELP OTHERS.
Launched with a specific mission to revitalize baseball fields in neighborhoods and to provide academic college scholarships, the Miguel Cabrera Foundation has awarded grants internationally, including gifts to the Clark Park Coalition (to support a neighborhood baseball field renovation) and the Miracle League of Michigan (to provide registration scholarships to special needs youth baseball players) in the greater Detroit community. In 2015, Miguel and his Foundation hosted a series of free youth baseball events dubbed “Miggy Ball” in his native Venezuela, giving hundreds of boys and girls between the ages of 8-10 the opportunity to learn from Miguel and play on a professional ball field. Since that time, Cabrera has also hosted Miggy Ball events in Lakeland, Fla. and Detroit. In addition, the Miguel Cabrera Foundation provided a grant to allow disadvantaged high school students to tour colleges campuses and funds multiple college scholarships at Florida International University. Furthermore, in 2017, Miguel established the Cabrera Family Scholarship endowment, awarding two annual renewable college scholarships to first-generation college students in Michigan and South Florida.
Before establishing the Miguel Cabrera Foundation, Miguel personally supported charities of varying causes including the Detroit Tigers Foundation. In addition to donating $100,000 to medical relief for those affected by an earthquake in Haiti, Cabrera provided the seed money to launch the Tigers Play Baseball Detroit initiative which has served over 100,000 children since 2008. When the Detroit Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) team advanced to a regional tournament, but could not afford new uniforms, Miguel stepped up and purchased new jerseys for every player and coach.
Miguel continues to be an avid supporter of the Detroit Tigers Foundation. From 2012 to 2015, Miguel and the Detroit Tigers Foundation partnered to host a program called “Cabrera’s Chamitos” whereby Miguel provided Tigers game tickets and t-shirts to charitable organizations for children who could not otherwise afford to see the Tigers play at Comerica Park. Miguel serves as the annual host of the “Keeping Kids in the Game” event, the Detroit Tigers Foundation’s signature summer fundraiser to benefit children’s health and youth baseball. The event has raised over $2.4 million since 2009.
Beyond personal donations and charitable grants and scholarships, Miguel is extremely generous with his time, especially when it comes to children that are sick or have special needs.
Since 2011, Miguel has annually attended the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids in partnership with the Miracle League of Michigan. The camp is designed to provide youth with physical challenges the opportunity to improve their baseball skills at a one-day clinic. Miguel actively participates in the Tigers Dreams Come True, a program that grants wishes of Tigers fans facing life-threatening illnesses and has become a favorite of Make-A-Wish children, always going above and beyond to create special memories. In 2014, Miguel spent an entire day with a young man battling cancer that was featured in an ESPN “My Wish” segment.
As the world continues to fight a global pandemic, two-time MLB All-Star Alex Bregman continues to be a true champion for Houston.
In February 2021, when Texas experienced an unprecedented and historic eight-day winter storm, Alex stepped up to support the Houston community. In the freezing conditions, many Houstonians were without water and electricity for several days. Bregman and his wife, Reagan, rallied the support of fellow teammates, the Astros Foundation and other supporters to help the community by donating 26,000 cases of water and 9,000 bottled gallons of water that were distributed to families in need.
In 2020, shortly after launching the new charity Bregman Cares, Alex launched #FEEDHOU, a campaign to raise $1 million for the Houston Food Bank to support struggling Houston residents during the COVID-19 crisis.
Alex started the campaign with a personal donation of $100,000, and with the support of friends, teammates, local celebrities and Alex’s Army of community supporters, #FEEDHOU surpassed its initial goal in only eight days. Alex hosted a 24-hour stream where he played various video games with more than 20 celebrities and athletes around the country. To date, #FEEDHOU has raised $1.8 million in support of feeding Houstonians through the Houston Food Bank. Every dollar donated provides three meals for families in need. The $1.8M raised is the equivalent of 5.4M meals in a time of need. Funds were also used to purchase new equipment and supplies needed to support the efforts of the Houston Food Bank.
In addition to efforts at the Houston Food Bank, the Bregman’s donated lunches to employees at the Houston Methodist Hospital, one of the leading hospitals in the fight against the coronavirus.
Bregman Cares has also donated more than 200 iPads with protective cases along with iTunes gift cards valued at more than $11,000 to (17) different Houston area elementary school Autism classrooms. The iTunes gift cards allowed the purchase of software for non-verbal children.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis and continuing today, Alex continues to take pride in being a man of action. His monetary support to various organizations for autism research, youth baseball and softball, the homeless and food insecurity, are always supported by surprise visits, encouragement and action. Alex’s call to action to the city of Houston makes him an ideal candidate for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award.
It’s ironic that playing a shark led Salvador “Salvy” Pérez—one of MLB’s most generous, kind and charismatic individuals—to dramatically increase his support of teachers and improve the lives of others.
It all started in 2016 when Salvy volunteered to be a “shark” at Teach for America’s Shark Tank: Teacher Edition event in Kansas City. This annual fundraiser event invites local teachers to pitch ideas for projects to improve their classrooms, schools and communities. On that night, Salvy learned teachers across the country spend $1.6 billion out of their own pockets to support their classrooms. He left the event knowing he needed to continue to support teachers however he could.
Since then, Salvy has worked tirelessly to help education efforts in the Kansas City metro so that teachers can continue to further the education of their students. During Teacher Appreciation Week in May 2021, Salvy hosted 32 teachers from Teach for America at a Royals game by inviting them to a private All-Star Suite at Kauffman Stadium. In place of his COVID-restricted attendance, he sent Royals owner John Sherman to meet with the group and discuss the importance of education and the value of strong teachers. As if that wasn’t enough, Salvy even threw in autographed baseballs for every teacher and teamed up with Royals Charities to donate $10,000 to Teach for America.
As the summer continued, Salvy got to work brainstorming other ways to support local education. When he heard Teach for America’s Back to School Bash was coming up, he knew what to do. Students from all over the city attend this event to gather necessary school supplies ahead of the school year, so Salvy decided to pitch in. His in-kind donation of 400 sets of toy baseball bats and baseballs, thanks to MLB’s PLAY BALL initiative, means children all over the city can suit up and play ball just like their favorite All-Star catcher—after school, of course.
Salvy’s passion for education stretches beyond schools, too. He is currently in the early stages of developing ESL (English as a Second Language) programming and co-authoring a dual-language children’s book.
Education is just a scratch on the surface for Salvy. In the last year, he also coached a clinic for kids through the Carlos Fortuna Organization in Bogota, Columbia; filmed surprise and delight messages on social media for Royals fans during lockdown; supported essential workers at local grocery stores during the pandemic; continued his work as a member of “Sarah’s Soldiers” by supporting local police officer, Sarah Olsen, through her battle with ALS; and once again partnered with Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer and created memories for local pediatric cancer patients.
It’s safe to say Salvy loves Kansas City, and Kansas City loves him right back.
President Barack Obama once referred to Mike Trout during a speech discussing the versatility of the farm bill and said, “It’s like Mike Trout, for those of you who know baseball. It’s somebody who’s got a lot of tools and multitasks.”
Mike Trout’s baseball resume stands among the all-time greats. His three AL MVP (2014, 2016 & 2019) awards are tied for the second-most in history. He is a nine-time All-Star, eight-time Silver Slugger award winner and was the 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year. Trout was also Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2011.
While Mike juggles what it takes to be the best player in the game, he has always found time to help those in need, creating a special experience for them.
Over the years, Trout has participated in numerous charitable events including granting numerous wishes each season through Make-A-Wish. He has been a regular participant in Angels Baseball’s monthly visits to children’s hospitals. In addition, he has recorded countless video messages to encourage children around the country who are fighting their own battle with illnesses and setbacks. He personalizes these memories so that each encounter is special and is meant specifically for that person. Every day he makes time to be of service to people in need or to share a special moment with young fans.
As the 2014 Players Choice Award winner, Mike donated the $20,000 he received from the Player Trust grants to the Dempster Family Foundation and Marshall R Smith Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Dempster Family Foundation was founded by former pitcher Ryan Dempster to improve the quality of life for the growing community of those affected by 22Q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. The Marshall R Smith Childhood Cancer Foundation is based in Trout’s hometown of Millville, N.J., and raises awareness for childhood cancer as well as providing financial assistance to children and families affected by it.
In 2015, he surprised a New Jersey family on Christmas Eve by bringing Christmas gifts. Their house had burned down days before Christmas, with all their presents gone with it. “And then, bam! Mike Trout comes,” Barbara DeSimone recalled. “It’s almost like a dream.”
In 2016, he partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and Inland Empire as an ambassador to promote youth mentoring. Campaigns in 2016 and 2017 raised more than $33,000.
In 2017, he donated $27,000 to the Red Cross to support the ongoing relief efforts to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey, which devastated areas in Texas and Louisiana.
These past two years, as we faced a global pandemic with COVID-19, Mike donated to several organizations that were in the frontline fighting the disease. In addition, he took part in the video message for MLB’s “Opening Day at Home,” and recorded several public service announcements to “Stay at Home” including one for the greater Los Angeles area with fellow Southern California athletes and coaches. He continues to send personal messages of encouragement to those who are struggling during this difficult time.
Recently, Mike and his wife, Jessica, began working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as benefactors for the organization to raise awareness after losing Jessica’s brother, Aaron Cox, due to suicide two years ago. The couple is currently working with Tiny Turnip, an apparel company to lead an initiative called “Your Game Isn’t Over Yet;” The design consists of a baseball and glove in the shape of the semicolon “;” as it is the symbol for suicide prevention. Just as the semicolon represents when an author could have ended a sentence but decided to continue the sentence instead, Trout’s suicide prevention campaign seeks to empower those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors to know that “Your Game Isn’t Over Yet;” All proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Since its launch on July 8, 2020, the company has sold 1,400 items.
To further this cause, Mike is working together with Orange County Health Agency this baseball season to create more awareness on suicide prevention with an outfield sign at Angel Stadium that reads “You’re Game Isn’t Over Yet;” to gain visibility during in-game broadcasts, especially during September for Suicide Prevention Month.
On the day he originally signed with the Dodgers in February 2014, Justin Turner’s name was not mentioned until the fifth paragraph of a news story covering the day’s transactions, noting that as a non-roster invitee to big league camp he provided “a little second baseman insurance.”
Eight years later, he’s provided infinitely more not only to the Dodgers, but to the entire Los Angeles community.
During his time in Los Angeles, the native Angeleno has become ingrained in the community, giving his time, energy and financial support to a variety of charitable efforts, including the Justin Turner Foundation (JTF), which he founded in 2016 with his wife, Kourtney. The Foundation’s official mission is to support homeless veterans, children (and their families) battling life-altering illnesses and diseases, and various youth baseball organizations, though that encompasses only a fraction of the Turners’ impact and dedication to serving the community.
Justin and Kourtney have provided life-changing support for hundreds of Angelenos who depend on the resources of The Dream Center, which is located only a few blocks from Dodger Stadium and focuses on providing support to those affected by homelessness, hunger and the lack of education through residential and community outreach programs. Justin has been instrumental in the Dream Center’s programming for veterans and helped support the opening of their Women Veterans Program in 2018. JTF also recently donated $100,000 to the Dream Center to cover the annual budget of its Foster Care Intervention program, which provides essential resources for families throughout Los Angeles. JTF partnered with the Dream Center throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to assist with its drive-thru and walk-up food & essentials line, which not only provided 900,000 meals during the 82-day effort but also supported small businesses with the bulk orders placed by the Turners at local restaurants for the meal service. As a permanent sign of their involvement with the Dream Center, its food bank was recently renamed The Justin & Kourtney Turner Food Bank and currently supplies food for over 60 local food banks.
Beyond the Dream Center, the Turners have been a dream come true for youth, providing more than 70,000 toys and 14,000 bicycles to children throughout Los Angeles. The Turners make frequent visits to patients at Cedars Sinai Hospital and UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital throughout the year and serve on the board of UCLA Health’s Operation Mend, which provides health care and social support for wounded warriors and their families. Justin, Kourtney and the Justin Turner Foundation have been added to the “Spotlight Wall” in recognition of their philanthropic efforts at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where Justin is a longtime supporter and frequent visitor. Justin and Kourtney have served as Honorary Hosts for their Walk and Play LA event, helping to raise critical funds for the hospital, and have also put on a Winter Wonderland at CHLA for kids that are unable to be home for the holidays, creating a festive carnival for hundreds of patients. Additionally, Justin supported distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic by dropping in on virtual classes to help motivate students and by donating laptops and tablets to students at Sierra Vista Middle School in Covina. He and Kourtney also helped renovate the Teen Center at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in East Los Angeles.
To help raise funds and awareness for the challenges faced by homeless veterans, the Justin Turner Foundation holds an annual golf classic and champions AM 570’s Veterans Day Radio-a-thon, both of which support the Dream Center’s Veterans Program. JTF has also taken on the running passion of Kourtney by holding a ‘Turner Trot 5K,’ which raised $150,000 this year, and by serving as an official partner for the LA Marathon. Justin also created a Military Monday program before the 2019 season, where through social media he solicits nominations and then selects a military family to receive an all-inclusive gameday experience each Monday home game.
It can be hard to stand out among Los Angeles’ four million residents, which include some of the most recognizable names and personalities in The Entertainment Capital of the World. All of which makes it even more noteworthy that the Los Angeles City Council unanimously declared it Justin Turner Day on Jan. 22, 2019. The honor isn’t for bringing home the City’s first World Championship in 32 years. It isn’t for his two All-Star appearances or for being the Dodgers’ inspirational clubhouse leader. It is because Justin Turner has proven to be an incredible source of “insurance” or assurance for the City of Los Angeles - always there and willing to help the community.
Miguel Elias Rojas Naidenoff, a native of Los Teques, Venezuela, takes the field each day with a deep love of the game that shines bright with his beaming spirit that brings a smile to everyone who comes around him.
Miguel’s positive energy can be felt before you hear him entering the room. The Miami community has embraced him as one of its own.
His competitive spirit, underdog mentality and comedic personality resonate with the South Florida public. Miguel can be found giving back to the community that he now calls home throughout the entire year. Whether it is food distributions in the offseason or school visits during the season, he makes the time for the fans and others in need.
Miguel is seen as an integral part of the organization, so much so that he earned a two-year contract in 2019, the first-ever multi-year deal handed out by the new ownership group. He has had to earn every opportunity and success in his career. Known as a utility player during the early stage of his career, Miguel continues to exemplify the traits of an ideal teammate with his attitude of doing whatever it takes for the team to win.
South Florida dealt with a difficult tragedy this year with the collapse of the Champlain Tower in Surfside. As always, Miguel asked what he could do to help those families. He, along with manager Don Mattingly, visited the memorial created on-site to remember the lives lost. Miguel also hosted at a game a young boy and girl who lost their father in that tragic event. The brother and sister watched batting practice, received gifts from the team and watched the game from a suite.
Even though in-person events were eliminated due to the challenging times of 2020, Miguel continued to be involved in the community. He joined the organization’s efforts on Mother’s Day, surprising a young mother, who also serves our community as a frontline hero, with a meal. He also offered tickets to the family as well as on-field access so that he could play catch with her son.
Then in the offseason, Miguel joined volunteers from the Marlins organization and the Miami Marlins Foundation in December at loanDepot park for the annual CAMACOL Jabas Holiday Gift Basket Distribution, which provided local families with a wide array of food and beverage items for a holiday meal.
With a focus on allowing each South Florida youth to succeed, Miguel continuously concentrates his community efforts on providing for students in underserved communities. His commitment to the Miami Marlins Foundation’s Home Plate Meals program extends beyond a financial contribution. Miguel annually volunteers his free time during the season and offseason to visit local schools to combat the challenges of food insecurity with the schools and inspire young students to achieve success.
In the winter of 2019, Miguel visited a local elementary school in Doral, Fla., for a laptop donation, where he concluded the visit with a 30-minute conversation with the students. He answered questions from students in English and Spanish for more than 20-minutes before ending with a group photo.
Miguel’s giving spirit extends to the front office and game day staff, media and fans. He can be seen signing autographs, taking photos with kids, and taking an extra minute to accommodate interview requests. Over the past three years with the Marlins, Miguel has received the Marlins’ Heart & Hustle Award (2019 and 2021), South Florida BBWAA “Mr. Marlins” Award (2018) and South Florida BBWAA Good Guy Award (2017).
Miguel’s heart has pushed him to exceed the expectations placed upon him as a baseball player, and his heart has made him one of the most beloved players in Marlins history. He will be remembered not solely for what he did between the white lines, but for all he did in the community and Marlins fans.
As a Harvard graduate who studied environmental science, Brent Suter uses his platform to draw attention to various environmental issues, the effects of climate change, the global crisis of plastic waste and emphasizes positive change.
Known as the team’s resident environmentalist, he leads by example through his active and engaging philanthropic efforts, as well in the clubhouse.
Brent is not merely passionate about conservation, he embodies it through his daily life choices, impact on his team and teammates, community service and leadership. He understands the urgency of taking serious action to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint and uses his platform to inspire and reach all corners of his community. He is a positive influence on those around him, both in baseball and beyond. Brent exemplifies the pillars of service revered by the Roberto Clemente Award, and the Milwaukee Brewers are honored to nominate him for a second consecutive year.
Brent has served as an active member and ambassador for ‘Players for the Planet’ since 2019, participating in cleanups projects around the world and making a series of appearances on behalf of Major League Baseball on Earth Day. He further supports multiple environmental groups such as Milwaukee Urban Ecology, the Outrider Foundation, ECO in the City of Milwaukee, and EcoAthletes.
Most recently, the Milwaukee Brewers, SC Johnson and ‘Players for the Planet’ teamed up to host an exclusive program for faculty and collegiate students from UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee concentrating on environmental and sustainable studies. Brent served as a lead panelist speaking about his involvement with environmental groups, the importance of sustainable practices and how he’s inspiring others to join in these vital efforts.
During the 2021 season, Brent launched a community-wide effort to plant 100 trees in the Milwaukee area for every Brewers win after the All-Star break. The effort allows community members to participate in planting and learning about the importance of urban tree canopy, which provides a plethora of health benefits for the community. Brent is particularly committed to using local trees to support food security by strategically planting fruit trees. In addition, this season, he has also volunteered for several nonprofits like Blessings in a Backpack and The Salvation Army to help fight hunger for kids in underserved communities.
Brent’s passion for engaging and positively impacting others is unwavering. He enjoys being directly involved in impacting change and continuously finds creative ways to do so.
He co-created #StrikeOutWaste, an eco-friendly initiative to help his teammates and other players across the league to reduce plastic use inside ballparks and in their personal lives. In the spring of 2019, he partnered with a bottle manufacturer to produce reusable glass water bottles that he gifted to his teammates and other players across the league.
In partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers and SC Johnson, Brent also serves as an ambassador for the first-of-its-kind recycling program at American Family Field. The program allows fans to discard their plastic cups and SC Johnson recycles them into Scrubbing Bubbles® bottles.
As a leader in the sustainable sports movement, Brent is a founding member of Sidelining Carbon, an initiative from the American Conservation Coalition Campus that focuses on offsetting the carbon impact of professional sports team travel. Launched in August 2020, the initiative aims to offset at least 50 percent of the carbon footprint associated with professional sports team travel by 2025.
For the past four years, Brent has donated $10,000 to Brewers Community Foundation and during the pandemic, he partnered with other teammates to donate $10,000 toward the Ballpark Employee Emergency Relief Fund for stadium employees impacted by COVID-19. He recorded Stay-at-Home messages and the importance of wearing a mask in public to share on social media, supporting the statewide media campaign, #WeAreAllInWI to help educate citizens about personal health and safety during COVID-19. In addition, he has volunteered at Miracle League games in Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
Brent has taken steps to live as efficiently and environmentally conscious as possible, from advocating for a green energy bill to going paperless in his kitchen, to starting his garden. He and his wife, Erin, have solar panels on the roof of their home, take fast showers, only use Blueland Cleaning Essential products - because of the dissolving tables - and eco-friendly reusable spray bottles. They avoid beef, compost as much as they can, use recyclable grocery bags and buy foods that have not been packaged.
In addition to his notable contributions on and off the field, Brent leads in the clubhouse with a positive attitude and an unflappable sense of humor. He’s not afraid to have some fun and the result is seen in social media, Brewers’ marketing films and while mic’d up during broadcasts.
The Milwaukee Brewers are honored to nominate Brent Suter for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award and look forward to the impact he will continue to make in his community, and beyond.
Though the record books will show Nelson Cruz’s time as a Minnesota Twin as a brief period in his illustrious career, the impact Nelson has had on Twins Territory is enormous.
On the field, the designated hitter led the Twins to two consecutive division titles, won a Silver Slugger Award, hit his 400th career home run and was named an All-Star for the seventh time in his career. Off the field, Nelson has also led the way – making life better for countless people across the region, country and world.
Giving back was instilled in Nelson at a young age by his parents, who taught him life is bigger than baseball. The 2020 winner of ESPN’s Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award, Nelson focuses his efforts on empowering people in situations of social vulnerability and using sports and education to help kids reach their potential to become leaders and improve their quality of life.
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, food insecurity was amplified for families everywhere. This was especially true in Nelson’s hometown in the Dominican Republic. Nelson took it upon himself to feed more than 700 families in his community so those households could comply with stay-at-home orders. Additionally, Nelson provided financial support to individuals not able to work due to the pandemic. In all, nearly 1,200 families have received direct support from Nelson during the COVID-19 crisis.
Last year, Nelson helped lead the $400,000 donation from MLB, the MLBPA and the Players Trust to the Dominican Republic to provide medical equipment and battle food insecurity in the wake of the pandemic. “I see it as my duty to help my country whenever possible,” Nelson said. “Even though the baseball season is almost starting, we are always thinking of ways we can help those in need.”
Nelson’s commitment to the health and safety of his community is not new. After a childhood friend lost his home to a fire, Nelson set out to transform the safety and welfare of his hometown. Las Matas de Santa Cruz didn’t have a fire truck or ambulance. Now, thanks to Nelson, it has a fire engine, 80 firefighter uniforms and an ambulance to treat and transport people to the hospital nearly an hour away. "I think the thing that touched [people] most was the ambulance," Nelson said. "People stopped me and were like, ‘Because of the ambulance you bought, my dad, my uncle, my nephew – he's alive.'”
Annually, Nelson brings dentists and optometrists to his hometown’s local clinic to provide checkups, medicine and eyewear. Last year, 500 patients received services including dentures, root canals, fillings, oral surgeries and prophylaxis treatments. In 2017, Nelson coordinated a five-day health event with volunteer doctors and donated equipment and medicine, enabling more than 1,000 people to receive treatment.
Nelson wants to break the cycle of poverty in communities of need. “I live it, I see it every day," he says. Understanding that most are inheritors of poverty, not its creators. Nelson commissioned studies to understand what resources are needed most in his hometown. This summer, Nelson’s Boomstick23 Foundation began construction on an education and technical center, a place to host training for technical skills and how to better use farmland to produce crops. The training will provide community members with skills and a path toward employment and income stability.
Nelson is particularly focused on kids in the Dominican Republic who leave school to play baseball. If the dream of the Major Leagues proves to be out of reach, they find themselves without a diploma or skills beyond baseball. Nelson will equip the center with computers to help these young men complete their high school education online and provide an opportunity to go to college.
Nelson has taken his educational message to many MLB cities where he has played, often bringing young teammates along. Using the game of baseball as the backdrop, Nelson dedicates time during each visit with young athletes to instill the message that staying in school and working hard on their education will open more doors than any baseball skills they learn.
In 2019, Pete Alonso took Major League Baseball by storm when he won the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. He went on to dominate that season by smashing the rookie record for home runs.
It was a Home Run Derby re-Pete for Alonso as he continued the slugfest in 2021. His big swing and outsized “polar bear” personality attract numerous fans, but not all of his home runs happen in the ballpark.
After winning the Home Run Derby the first time around, Pete donated 10 percent of the $1 million Home Run Derby prize to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Tunnel to Towers Fund. These two organizations introduced Pete to the people who were directly impacted by his donation, and once he saw the amount of impact on the families and the people he was able to help, Pete and his fiancé, Haley, were inspired to officially launch their foundation “Homers for Heroes” – an organization whose mission is “to recognize the outstanding work of our heroes and inspire others to be a hero in others’ lives.”
In 2020, as the world shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, so did Homers for Heroes. Pete and Haley were reminded of our most basic shared value – that each of us depends on one another for a healthy community. They were particularly struck by the acts of kindness and humanity that they saw emerge during the pandemic – from doctors working long hours to people taking care of their neighbors. Their foundation raises money to support and thank the everyday heroes of this pandemic as well as those who continue to take care of each other.
This season alone, Pete’s foundation has honored a local teacher, a female service member, a frontline worker and a mental health advocate. These individuals were chosen for their outstanding work, which generally goes unnoticed, and for their inspiration to others to go out in their community and do the same.
In addition to his work through the foundation, Pete has been doing all he can to help during this pandemic. He crafted personalized videos for doctors on the frontlines. He made a guest appearance during a Zoom math class for Jericho High School students, helping to introduce geometry to the stunned students. For his first in-person opportunity to invite heroes to Citi Field, Pete met six-year-old Piper to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy treatments. He invited her to watch batting practice and stay for the game.
Pete’s ongoing commitment to Queens has not slowed down during the pandemic, and after defending his Home Run Derby crown, Pete was even more enthusiastic and motivated to get out in front of the Mets community. During a local little league baseball practice in Corona, Queens, Pete surprised these underserved youth participants with a visit before a home game. He donated Nike gear to all the kids.
Once again, Pete will be donating a once-in-a-lifetime experience to raise money for charity by auctioning off a private fishing trip with him. Previously this experience sold for $70,000, which benefited four different nonprofit organizations focused on battling food insecurity. As Pete says it best: “I want to be as helpful as possible. I don’t have a $20 million contract, so I can’t donate like other athletes do. I don’t have that ability yet. Instead of donating money, I can donate time and I can donate talent.”
Pete continues to use his voice and platform to speak out for social justice. He remains a strong ally to those who face discrimination based on the color of their skin.
“I try to not just be a good ballplayer, but I want to be a good person as well. I feel like I have such a really cool platform, and I don’t want to just play baseball and be good at it. Hopefully, I can impact other people’s lives and make someone else’s life better. I just want to do good.”
Growing up in Huntington Beach, Calif., Kyle Higashioka never had to worry about finding a space or way to play the game of baseball. He was able to readily utilize the resources available to him to catapult his love of the sport into what eventually became a Major League career.
Even through all the years of hard work and perseverance, Kyle never forgot that others with the same dreams and aspirations may not have been afforded the same opportunity to succeed.
It was those thoughts that sparked a desire to give back once he was drafted by the Yankees and embarked on his journey up the professional ranks. An avid supporter of the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. — which he is a proud alumnus of — Higashioka has dedicated a good deal of his free time ensuring that future Major Leaguers in inner-city neighborhoods have an equal opportunity to thrive as those that grew up in less urban environments.
“Me being from Huntington Beach, I didn’t have to worry about equipment or finding a place to play,” Kyle said. “For unprivileged kids or kids that maybe baseball is a tough game to afford, it gives them a level playing field with kids who don’t have to worry about that stuff.”
Having opened its doors in 2006, Higashioka was one of the first youth athletes to compete at the Compton Academy, and has since helped support the program in various ways, including volunteering his time in the offseason, hosting online auctions to raise money and positively expanding its social reach.
“I figured it’d be good for me to kind of use whatever platform I have to give back, and this is one of the places that really made an impression on me,” said Kyle.
His experience there spurred him to partner with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association where he hosted a zoom call with youth taking part in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program this past offseason. As part of the conversation, he provided words of encouragement to the participants, many of which come from underserved communities.
In addition to his work with inner-city youth, Kyle is also a devoted supporter of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the families of fallen and severely wounded special operations warriors and children of all medals of honor recipients.
As part of his commitment, Kyle held a special online fundraiser this past June that featured the raffling off his game-used, commemorative Memorial Day baseball equipment to support the SOWF’s efforts. The initiative produced a total donation of over $10,000 and helped provide positive and continuing social media support and recognition.
Through the ways mentioned above and others, Kyle has helped continue Roberto Clemente’s legacy by establishing the importance of community work throughout his professional career. As was the case with Clemente, the need to help others in need and pave the way for today’s youth so that they can be placed in positions to succeed tomorrow continues to prove vital in his daily commitments.
The Roberto Clemente Award recognizes a Major League player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions both on and off the field. To us, there is no doubt that Tony Kemp is deserving of this recognition.
Tony is a utilityman on the field for the Green & Gold, but beyond that, he is a utilityman for the community. Tony’s ongoing commitment to making a change in the world through his +1 Effect campaign, his continued work with the Players Alliance, his partnership with Players for the Planet and One Tree Planted and his support of the Oakland community have fueled those around him and fans across the country to do their part as well.
Tony established his +1 Effect campaign in 2020. Following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Tony knew he had to be part of the change he wanted to see in the world. Tony considered ways to join the fight against racism and police brutality against Black people in America, and he decided to combat social injustice through individual conversations.
On June 5, 2020, a week into the nationwide protests over Floyd’s death, Tony posted a tweet offering to talk. He encouraged anyone who wanted to have a conversation about race, learn more about systemic racism or simply hear about his own life experiences to reach out. Tony’s goal was simple: Change one perspective, hope they go on to change another and slowly begin to see a change. After a conversation with some family members, Tony coined his cause the +1 Effect. After a few weeks, he started a movement.
“If we can have this one person have a new perspective, then that person takes that forward, and they move on to the next person, that’s when you start to see a trickle-down effect of the +1 Effect,” Tony said in a media interview. “And that’s how you begin to see a new movement and change in the world.”
Since the launch of the campaign, Tony and his wife, Michelle, have had hundreds of conversations with teammates, fans and even those outside of the baseball community -- continuing the idea that changing one mind at a time helps to create a +1 Effect.
In addition to the work he does through his own campaign, Tony is an active member of the Players Alliance, which works to create an inclusive culture within baseball and the community in order to elevate racial equality and provide greater opportunities for the Black community in our game and in the places we live, play and care about most. Through the Players Alliance, Tony participated in a panel with local little league athletes. During his discussion with the youngsters, Tony emphasized the importance of prioritizing education in addition to a passion for baseball. To demonstrate the importance of a strong educational foundation, Tony had the youth athletes stand on a book and stand on a baseball – showing which one provides the most stability in life.
This season, Tony has also teamed up with Players for the Planet and One Tree Planted to help plant trees in urban communities. Tony has pledged to plant 100 trees for every stolen base and extra-base hit he records throughout the season. Through this player partnership, A’s corporate partner PG&E has also signed on to match all of Tony’s tree donations, helping to increase the impact of this program. Tony will participate in a community tree planting event in September.
Tony’s steadfast commitment to making a positive impact in the community by driving conversations, creating lasting change around social injustice and making the world around him a better place has not wavered. He truly exemplifies the values and beliefs exemplified by Roberto Clemente.
Alec Bohm’s heart for philanthropy developed early on through his close-knit family in Omaha, Neb. Along with the hard work he put in on the field, his family emphasized giving to others and lending a helping hand in the community whenever possible.
His volunteerism grew alongside his pursuit of the Major Leagues. Wherever his professional career would lead him, Alec knew there would be others to lift up along the way.
He brought his giving spirit with him during his quick rise through the Phillies organization. His interest in making a difference was so strong that, with the support of family, The Alec Bohm Foundation began its work even before Alec’s big-league debut for The Phillies. Launched in 2019 with a mission to inspire philanthropy and give to others, The Alec Bohm Foundation has a simple focus: to offer a helping hand to those that need it.
Alec made his impressive Major League debut the following year in 2020, coming in second in National League Rookie of the Year voting. Behind the scenes, as the pandemic continued, Alec’s quiet generosity was already beginning to transform lives halfway around the world.
During Covid-19 shutdowns, Alec and his family reached out to the pastors at Heritage Church, their local church in Omaha, to offer help where needed. They began fundraising for a renovation project that included installing new church chairs, carpeting and tile, which supported their local community. These basic improvements allowed the pastors to additionally direct attention to dire needs in various communities in Africa.
In a team effort with Heritage Church, The Alec Bohm Foundation supplied blankets and other necessities to orphaned children in Kampala, Uganda. They helped with repairs to Unceasing Brooks Church in Nairobi, Kenya, which provided a bit of solace to an impoverished community. While getting to know the people in these areas, they learned about a single mother’s struggle. To lend a hand, they added a kitchen onto her one-room home and provided financial support for her five children’s education, essentially changing the direction of the family’s future.
The Alec Bohm Foundation also joined Heritage Church and Child’s Walk Christian Ministries Uganda to dig a well to supply safe, clean water at a children’s center in Bwindi, Uganda. The village did not have electricity, so the project was expanded to add a diesel generator and storage tank to pump water. By spring 2021, the water began to flow, and on July 16, the Pumped Water Station at Byumba Child Development Centre was dedicated. The good system now provides water to 170 people, plus many nearby villagers. Alec was heartened to see the impact through video of young children dancing euphorically around the well with praise and thanks.
As part of the Phillies, Alec makes himself available for volunteer opportunities and donates his time graciously to Phillies Charities, Inc. He consistently signs his memorabilia for the club and for The Alec Bohm Foundation to continue raising funds for ongoing projects. Its most recent auction benefitted first responders in Wilmington, Del. Donor support of The Alec Bohm Foundation has also established an annual grant to The Wounded Warriors Project, another cause close to Alec’s heart.
Alec Bohm’s promising career has made some noise on the field, but his quiet generosity is changing lives around the world.
Jacob Stallings has helped keep the Pirates active in the community during a difficult year for everyone. Even with strict COVID-19 protocols in place, Jacob took time during his busy Spring Training schedule to create a memorable experience for a group of kids.
Traditionally, the Pirates host a PLAY BALL event for kids of the Boys & Girls Club of Manatee County, a local youth organization offering children and teens after-school programs focused on academic success, healthy lifestyles and good citizenship. With restrictions still in place this spring, the event was unable to take place in its normal fashion, so Jacob held a virtual meet-and-greet with the kids.
During the call, Jacob fielded questions about his journey to becoming a professional baseball player, his career, the pros and cons of life during Spring Training and how he and his family navigate through the pandemic.
In addition to his work during Spring Training, Jacob participated in this year’s Pirates Charities Players’ Favorite Things Basket Auction, which supported Allegheny Health Network’s efforts to provide free mammograms to women in need in the Pittsburgh Region. Jacob’s basket, which contained items such as autographed game-used cleats, a University of North Carolina Baseball shirt and gift cards to some of his favorite restaurants, raised $500 for the cause. This amount alone went on to provide three women with life-saving screenings.
Jacob’s appreciation for engaging with the community started early in his baseball career. As a college athlete at North Carolina, Jacob joined teammates for a luncheon at the Offutt Air Force Base where they signed autographs for military personnel, saw the inner workings of the 55th Security Forces Squadron’s armory and watched a military dog demonstration.
The Padres are proud to recognize Joe Musgrove as their 2021 Roberto Clemente Award nominee. While new to the Padres organization in 2021, Joe is no stranger to the community and fanbase; As a San Diego native, Joe has a special place in his heart for the Friar Faithful.
Joe has taken advantage of this rare opportunity to play in his hometown by being a leader in the community and making an impact in the lives of young individuals with dreams of following in his footsteps.
Joe’s philanthropic focus has been in the areas of youth sports, specifically supporting those facing physical challenges. Local nonprofit Challenged Athletes Foundation has become a favorite of Joe's for the inspiring and impactful work they do to support San Diego's youth. CAF strives to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances the quality of life.
In celebration of Joe throwing the Padres first no-hitter in franchise history, Joe and the Padres Foundation contributed $8,056 (number of games played in Padres history before the first no-hitter). That donation supported the purchase of adaptive sports equipment, enabling kids with physical disabilities the opportunity to play organized sports.
In addition to this donation, Joe went above and beyond, taking a young ballplayer, Landis Sims, under his wing. Landis was born without hands and most of his legs, but didn't let that stand in the way of his dreams of playing baseball. Upon hearing Landis' story, Joe connected with the 15-year-old to spend a day with him going over baseball mechanics. “That kid is the best possible example of someone who has mental toughness and fortitude to be able to get over any obstacle,” said Joe. “He’s faced so many different things and issues in his life and he’s found ways to make them work. He just adapts to whatever situation he’s in. I feel like I took more away from that day than he did. I left there feeling like a different person.”
Joe looks forward to continuing his charitable efforts and partnership with the Challenged Athletes Foundation through the 2021 season in a larger capacity and plans to continue inspiring San Diego’s youth to work towards bright and successful futures.
Giving back to the Bay Area comes naturally to Brandon Crawford, the Bay Area native who was raised in Pleasanton, Calif., and grew up a Giants fan attending games at both Candlestick Park and Oracle Park.
He knows first-hand the impact the players and team can have on the community. Throughout his decade-long career in San Francisco, the humble and soft-spoken shortstop has found ways to give back in meaningful and impactful ways to the people and community who helped to shape his life.
After learning about fellow Pleasanton native and Oakland A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty’s mom succumbing to ALS, Brandon, with the help of his father, Mike, stepped up to support the Piscotty family’s mission to find a cure for ALS. The ALS Cure Project became the beneficiary of the annual Crawford Family Golf Tournament in 2019 and has since raised more than $200,000 toward research for a cure.
Brandon is incredibly thankful for his health and the health of his family, which makes him acutely sympathetic to those who are not as fortunate. Realizing that the children he was meeting through regular Make-A-Wish visits at Oracle Park were the same age as his kids, he developed a new perspective on the struggles those families face daily. Brandon and his wife, Jalynne, collaborated with former Giant Andrew McCutchen and his wife, Maria, in a collaboration called “Catch a Cure,” in which proceeds from a special clothing line benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital. In addition to conducting their hospital visits in the Bay Area, the Crawfords support the efforts of teammate Buster Posey and his wife, Kristen, to raise money for research for childhood cancer.
Brandon created the “Craw Claw,” similar to a foam finger, to benefit Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare, a nonprofit physical rehabilitation center in Pomona, Calif. Casa Colina specializes in caring for catastrophically injured patients. Jalynne’s father was treated at Casa Colina after a horrific accident, and the family is dedicated to giving back to the center that gave them so much.
This season, Brandon teamed up with the Giants Community Fund, the Good Tidings Foundation and the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department to renovate Gilman Field, located in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco – just blocks from Candlestick Park where Brandon fell in love with baseball. The field renovation included new dugouts, benches, and grass for the infield and outfield. It will be used by Junior Giants, the free, non-competitive youth baseball and softball program run by the Giants Community Fund, of which Brandon is a loyal supporter as well as the neighborhood kids and families.
As the son of a teacher, Brandon has prioritized supporting educational initiatives like the NBC Sports Bay Area All-Star Teacher Awards, the Step Up to the Plate for Education grant program and the Junior Giants education curriculum by lending his name and celebrating those who keep education at the forefront of our society.
The two-time World Series Champion and three-time National League All-Star, Silver Slugger and Gold Glover’s skills on the field speak volumes of his ability and athleticism, but the accolades that embody who he is as a person are his five MLBPAA Heart and Hustle Awards and the Giants Willie Mac Award, which is bestowed upon a Giants player by his teammates for best exemplifying the spirit and leadership consistently shown by Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.
At his annual youth baseball camps, Brandon tells campers that one of the main rules of camp is to perform at least one random act of kindness every day. He explains to the kids that it causes a ripple effect of good, and you’ll never know just how far that "good" will travel. In the case of Brandon, his kindness has traveled further than he could have ever imagined.
Kyle Seager is an All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner who has consistently produced on the field throughout his 11 seasons in Seattle. He is among the Seattle Mariners’ top-five all-time leaders in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, runs, total bases and games.
He has also consistently, often behind the scenes and out of the spotlight, helped to make a positive impact on the lives of youth and families in our communities.
2021 is the seventh year that Kyle has teamed up with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) to serve as a spokesperson for the Refuse To Abuse campaign. The campaign includes print, video and radio public service advertisements to help prevent domestic violence and promote healthy, respectful relationships. Kyle also supports the annual Refuse To Abuse 5K that raises funds and celebrates the resilience of survivors and the power of community. The 2021 Refuse To Abuse 5K, held both virtually and in-person at T-Mobile Park, raised $113,540. Kyle is one of only a few athletes in professional sports to help raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence.
Kyle has also supported youth with critical illnesses throughout his career in a variety of ways including visits to local children’s hospitals, fulfilling wishes for kids at the ballpark and leading fundraising campaigns for pediatric cancer research and family support programs. In 2011, while playing for Seattle’s Double-A affiliate in Jackson, Tenn., Kyle met an 11-year-old boy who had the same heart surgery he had as an infant. He discovered then that by sharing his own story, he could help kids who were going through similar experiences and challenges he went through as a kid and let them know that they can still achieve their goals and do anything they want to do.
Kyle has helped grant wishes and entertained kids from Make-A-Wish who have wished to come to the ballpark and meet the Seattle Mariners. In 2020, Kyle also helped the Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington chapter transition their annual WOW: Wonder of Wishes in-person fundraising luncheon into an all-new virtual event. Kyle reunited with Wish Kid Kylie, two years after her wish came true, to share their story and highlight the power of a Wish. The virtual event raised more than $169,000 to help support kids waiting for wishes due to delays from COVID-19 and ensure Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington can grant wishes at an unprecedented rate when it is safe to do so.
Kyle has also been a supporter of Seattle Children’s Hospital. He has helped bring smiles and hope to patients during visits to the Seattle Children’s Heart Center, hosted kids at the ballpark and supported various fundraising events over the years.
In 2016, Kyle teamed up with the Vs Cancer Foundation to create the Kyle Seager Vs Cancer campaign. Vs Cancer is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children by funding international cancer research projects and supporting local children’s hospitals. The campaign raised $23,172 for Seattle Children’s and Strong Against Cancer through pledges made for each hit Kyle recorded during the season.
Kyle has also supported other local charities including, the American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs and Mariners Care.
Since joining the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018, Paul Goldschmidt has continued to prove that he is an athlete of extraordinary character, both on and off the field. His philanthropic efforts are numerous and far-reaching.
Paul’s legacy as a five-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-18) still resonates with the Arizona community. Paul and his wife, Amy, are dedicated supporters of the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children. They are working on a capital campaign to help fund Ava’s Treehouse, a place where pediatric cancer patients and their families can go play, explore and relax in an environment that is suited directly to their needs. Paul and Amy also enjoy spending time with pediatric patients in St. Louis. Both have participated in several hospital visits and Make-A-Wish events.
Paul is passionate about fighting food insecurity. In 2020, he donated to Convoy of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit organization that helps communities worldwide. His donation provided a full tractor-trailer of food and supplies that were distributed in St. Louis and served thousands. Paul's truck was sent to Churches on the Street — a mobile food truck that goes into the inner city and provides hot meals to those in need. Food was also sent to the Melvin Theatre Community Center where kids receive USDA-approved dinners and snacks each week.
Paul supported the Athletes for Justice, a nonprofit that supports under-resourced communities, with a project in Chicago. Funds provided helped purchase an old liquor store that was transformed into a fresh food market, Austin Harvest. This area of town was considered a “food desert” as there are few places where residents can buy nutritious food. Austin Harvest not only serves as an option for residents to purchase fresh produce, but it’s also an educational center where local youth can develop management and entrepreneurial skills.
Paul joined teammate and 2020 Roberto Clemente Award winner, Adam Wainwright, in several charitable efforts through Wainwright’s charity, Big League Impact (BLI).
In 2020, Paul committed more than $130,000 to several programs supported by BLI. Some funds supported social justice initiatives, including ArchCity Defenders for direct service to clients and administrative expenses, Focus St. Louis to fund scholarships for the Emerging Leaders program and Deaconess Foundation for the Regional Racial Healing Pooled Fund. Paul participated in BLI’s Players-Only Fantasy Football League, with funds raised benefitting the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children. He committed funding to the Home Plate Project to provide food to members of the St. Louis community facing food insecurity with the donation directly aiding Operation Food Search, Crisis Aid International and St. Louis Area Foodbank.
This season, through his partnership with BLI, Paul committed $500 per regular season win and $5,000 per postseason win to help build a community center in the Dominican Republic with Food for the Hungry. The community center will provide a meeting room, a child early stimulation center and a community health post. The center will provide vocational training for youth and women, and instruction to community residents on how to improve household sanitation, basic hygiene and nutritional skills.
Paul’s Player Ticket Program, Goldy’s Golden Ticket, started in 2019 to bring deserving youth organizations to a game. He provides t-shirts, photo cards, tickets, food vouchers, meets with the groups to answer questions, sign autographs and take photos. This year, he will meet with nearly 100 children as part of the program.
In January, Paul donated his time to help raise funds for the St. Louis Cardinals Community Foundation, Cardinals Care, by participating in the virtual Winter Warm-Up.
This September, Paul will hold a free baseball clinic for kids, parents and coaches. The kids will get to play baseball and work on sports skills and life lessons. Parents and coaches will stay and listen to speakers talk about the importance of using sports, specifically baseball, to build life skills rather than solely focusing on winning.
Ryan Yarbrough is an active contributor to his community with a relentless desire to improve his team and the lives of others. Throughout his career, Ryan has not waited to be asked to help; he has routinely stepped up when others are in need and consistently sought out ways to give back.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan reached out to continue his work on Reading with the Rays, a program designed to encourage kids to read during summer breaks to avoid summer learning loss. Ryan has been a driving force for the Reading with the Rays program, routinely making community reading appearances at libraries and Boys & Girls Clubs promoting literacy skills and reading. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he recognized the increased importance of reading and education with kids no longer in traditional school settings. Ryan recorded videos from home and posted these online to encourage kids to participate in the program and read for 24 hours over the summer. After the success of the online program, Ryan recorded more videos for the program this year, challenging kids to read in exchange for tickets to a 2021 Rays game.
Improving lives through education is a driving force for a significant portion of Ryan’s community efforts. At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, Ryan and his wife, Nicole, made a generous donation to a local elementary school with 96% of the student body living at or below the poverty line. Ryan and Nicole donated school supplies, clothes, sanitizing items and food, fulfilling all the items on the school’s wish list. This donation provided hundreds of essential items kids need to be successful in school and that they may otherwise have had to go without.
Along with his dedication to education, Ryan and Nicole routinely seek out ways to give back to those in the community who need it most. Ryan volunteers with We Serve St. Pete helping to provide meals, toiletries and haircuts to people experiencing homelessness. Ryan dedicated his Sundays to this group, providing and serving a warm meal to people in need. Ryan also supports Starting Right, Now, a nonprofit that helps end youth homelessness, through a generous donation of apparel and toiletries. He and Nicole also participate in Rays on the Runway, an event that raises funds in support of children with life-threatening illnesses.
Ryan also took time to thank those who are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and helped local small businesses in the process. During the outbreak, Ryan and Nicole treated the doctors, nurses and staff at a local hospital critical-care unit to coffee and breakfast from a local Tampa Bay restaurant.
Knowing that the holiday season would be different for fans this past year due to the pandemic, Ryan and Nicole wanted to give back through a holiday giveaway that included equipment, jerseys and autographs. Through his efforts, Ryan was able to engage directly with fans while also making their holidays a little brighter during a year when they needed it the most.
Ryan has selected the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast to receive Major League Baseball’s $7,500 donation and additionally will match that with his own $7,500 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay. He will also provide a total of 50 backpacks, 25 for each Boys & Girls Club with school supplies and Rays items included.
The Tampa Bay Rays are proud to have Ryan represent the team. Ryan does not seek out attention for his work in the community, but instead performs these acts benevolently with a humble sense of duty. He exemplifies what it means to be a community leader and role model for those after him.
Jose Trevino has been very active with community endeavors during his time with the Rangers. This offseason, he served as the honorary chair of the annual Texas Rangers Toy Drive, raising funds for Christmas gifts for youngsters at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy and West Side Helping Hands in Corpus Christi.
Additionally, he has raised more than $30,000 for the fourth annual Trevino’s Toy Drive, donating 1,100 toys to benefit families of West Side Helping Hands in Corpus Christi.
Jose held a baseball camp and toy drive in Frisco, with 250 toys donated to Operation Once in a Lifetime (OOIAL), a military nonprofit group that helps make the dreams of U.S. Soldiers and their families come true.
He has also partnered with Special Arts in the Hearts in Corpus Christi for a Just 5 Campaign helping raise more than $4,500 in three days.
Jose has been a guest speaker at Oral Roberts’ annual Diamond Dinner benefitting the school’s baseball program, and regularly participates in the club’s annual hospital visits and Winter Caravan.
At the young age of 23 years old, Bo Bichette has already made his mark as an All-Star player for the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
What is even more impressive is that his impact goes much further than just playing the game he loves; Bo actively supports his community and has been steadfast in his desire to do what he can to help others and inspire them to be their best selves.
During recent offseasons at his home in St. Petersburg, Fla., Bo served his community at a local shelter weekly. During this time, Bo would serve food, water, clothing, toiletries, shoes and blankets to the homeless population. This program relies heavily on the consistency of their volunteers so that the volunteers can build relationships and trust with those in need with the goal of helping them get out of the shelters and get back on their feet. Bo looks forward to re-joining the volunteer group at season’s end to continue building relationships and supporting those in his hometown.
After learning about a tragic story at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, where a beloved staff member suddenly lost their life to COVID-19, Bo donated individual care packages to staff in the Environmental Services department. Bo wanted to help lift the spirits of the frontline workers and thank them for their endless efforts to keep Canadians safe and healthy during such an uncertain time. It is these personal acts of kindness that highlight Bo’s selfless side and his incredible generosity.
The 2020 and 2021 seasons have posed many challenges for the Toronto Blue Jays and led them to start the 2021 season in Dunedin, Fla. While many people would be disappointed with his scenario, Bo viewed this uncertainty as an opportunity to give back to his home city and have an impact on the community.
In addition to volunteering at the shelter in his hometown, Bo also has close ties with various schools in St. Petersburg, especially his former high school, Lakewood High School. In May 2021, Bo hosted 50 current students and staff members from Lakewood High to a Toronto Blue Jays home game in Dunedin. Bo provided the group with backpacks full of Blue Jays gear and joined the group for a pre-game chat to discuss the importance of being a good teammate, working hard and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The students were left inspired to pursue their education and work hard after hearing motivating words from Bo, who once walked the same halls as they do now.
Most recently in July 2021, Bo sponsored a baseball-focused camp for 500+ children through PG Cares. Bo enjoys promoting the game of baseball to youths and was excited to be a part of a program that allowed him to help young athletes and inspire them to be the best they can be. This full day of camp included transportation to the venue for all campers, food from a local restaurant, a full day of baseball instruction and backpacks full of baseball-related items that would encourage kids to continue to enjoy the game.
As a follow-up to this event, Bo is working towards creating a youth program that focuses on health, education, physical fitness and baseball skills in St. Pete.
Bo’s ongoing support for community initiatives and passion for giving back during a pandemic is unmatched. While he prefers the work to be done outside of the spotlight, his desire to make a difference in his community is unparalleled to anyone on the team. Bo has been the true representation of the Club’s values and has an unmatched commitment to giving back to fans no matter where our “home” is.
Max Scherzer on the field and Max Scherzer off the field are two very different people. A steely expression on the mound melts into an easy smile while talking with families during his fantasy football fundraiser.
The ace, always in the spotlight when he pitches, slips into the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy to help coach young pitchers - no photographers allowed. His intense stare is replaced with twinkling eyes as he watches his young daughter climb a dirt pile on a field that will soon carry his name.
Max has a long history of philanthropic investment in the D.C. region. Since 2015, Max has been the largest individual donor (on a cash basis) to Washington Nationals Philanthropies, the official charitable arm of the Washington Nationals. Through direct contributions, fundraising events and fan fundraising activations, he has helped Nationals Philanthropies raise over $1.46 million.
Contributions have supported baseball and softball programming at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, rapid relief initiatives to bring resources to the community during a time of crisis, joint- fundraising campaigns and a fan-favorite “pet calendar” to support animal care and rescue. Max also served as the face for many years of the Fantasy Football Showdown fundraiser benefiting the Nationals Academy. More importantly, Max’s unrivaled generosity has sparked involvement and engagement from thousands of Nationals fans while lifting worthy partners in the region doing important work on the ground to provide programs and services for residents of the region.
Finally, Max’s baseball and philanthropic legacy in D.C. will be cemented with the opening of a Legacy Field carrying his name in spring 2022. A revitalized community hub in the Ward 8 neighborhood of Washington Highlands is the future site of a fourth Legacy Field carrying the name of a current or former Washington Nationals player. The field, supported in part through financial contributions from Max, is one piece of a redevelopment project that will transform the site into a multi-use education and recreation complex that will feature a new high school, indoor recreation center and extensive outdoor spaces.
Scherzer Field will be home to a variety of baseball programs, including introductory clinics and competitive play run by the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the signature program of Washington Nationals Philanthropies. These programs offer the chance to foster the development of strong character through the invaluable lessons provided by high-quality coaches and mentors. At the insistence of Max, the site will also feature a baseball-inspired art installation to honor, highlight and celebrate the historical impact of African Americans on the game of baseball, especially in Washington, D.C.
Never seeking recognition, Max has quietly defined what it means to be "Nats4Good" – building a philanthropic legacy that will endure for generations to come. As bright as the lights shine on Scherzer Field, D.C. will always welcome him home.