HOUSTON -- When Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo received the Roberto Clemente Award on Friday night at Minute Maid Park, he was in good company.• Rizzo humbled by Clemente Award honorFor the first time in World Series history, Major League Baseball gathered a large contingent of Roberto Clemente Award winners.
HOUSTON -- When Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo received the Roberto Clemente Award on Friday night at Minute Maid Park, he was in good company.
• Rizzo humbled by Clemente Award honor
For the first time in World Series history, Major League Baseball gathered a large contingent of Roberto Clemente Award winners. Rizzo was joined for a photo opportunity with Carlos Beltran (2013), David Ortiz ('11), Craig Biggio ('07), John Smoltz ('05), Al Leiter ('00) and Harold Reynolds (1991).
In addition, Curtis Granderson ('16) and Clayton Kershaw ('12) were out on the field taking batting practice with the Dodgers. So that made it a combined power-packed lineup of nine philanthropic superstars who have won MLB's most prestigious honor.
"I was looking at the list a couple of days ago, and it's a lot of pressure to be on a list like that," Rizzo said. "There's Hall of Famers up and down that list, and great players and great human beings. And to come in, I know all the guys that were here, fortunately, and just great, great guys.
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"It's amazing to win the award, and they're not just disappearing, they're still active in baseball. And that's what this game means. We need guys active in baseball that do a lot of good work. And we have a lot of good players playing right now that are out in the community doing amazing work."
Rizzo and his family were brought into the presentation room a half-hour before the ceremony began. One by one, they started assembling the group photo. There were six of them, and they waited patiently on a stage as Beltran was brought in from the Astros' clubhouse.
"You guys are all invited to play in my golf tournament," Ortiz told the star-studded group.
Here to provide analysis for the FOX pregame and postgame shows, Ortiz asked the Rizzo family where they are going for vacation. He praised Smoltz for his golf game and bemoaned his own short game. Big Papi kind of took charge and told Rizzo to stand in the middle.
"This is the award that means the most to me," said Smoltz, who headed to the FOX broadcast booth to call Game 3 of the World Series.
Commissioner Rob Manfred began the subsequent news conference by noting the historic assemblage: "It's an interesting fact, we actually have eight Roberto Clemente Award winners [plus Rizzo] that are going to be in the ballpark tonight. And this list shows you some of the great, great players and great people who have won this award previously: Hall of Famers John Smoltz and Craig Biggio; Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter, David Ortiz, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson. It's a pretty nice list of guys who have done a great work over a long period of time."
Reynolds and Leiter are providing analysis for MLB Network. Biggio, the Hall of Famer who spent his entire career with Houston, was participating in pregame ceremonies as the Series shifted to Minute Maid Park.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.