LOS ANGELES -- When David Peralta found out that he was the D-backs' nominee for the annual Roberto Clemente Award, it was a total surprise. He was having a casual conversation with his wife, Jordan, when she broke the news to him.
“I think it was a surprise, but she was really excited. I think that’s why it came out of her mouth because she was so excited and wanted to tell me,” said Peralta. “But I told her it’s not just me [who’s nominated], it’s both of us, because we do this together.”
Peralta beamed with pride when talking about his nomination. Even if he doesn’t end up being the eventual winner this year, for Peralta -- who tries to follow Clemente’s example on and off the field -- the nomination is a win in and of itself. To be compared to his role model is the ultimate compliment.
"It means everything. He was a role model, and that's what I want to be," Peralta said. "He was a role model for everyone, as a player, as a human being and everything. I want to be like him, and that's what I want to be."
As the D-backs’ longest tenured active-roster player, Peralta’s presence in Phoenix is making a difference. Peralta and his wife have united their involvement with several causes in Arizona, including St. Mary’s Food Bank, supporting families affected by cancer through The Singletons and inspiring children to play ball through the local Boys & Girls Clubs.
Through his countless appearances in the Arizona community to embrace the gift of education, Peralta and his wife are embracing the lessons they learned early in their lives.
"That's the way that we were raised: Help other people without asking something back, and that's what we do. It's not just me, but my wife,” Peralta said. “We're always trying to help everyone the best we can without asking something back. Everything we do we do from our heart and that's the way we've been raised. Just the simple thing of helping someone is a lot of joy for me."
Peralta teamed up with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation this year in new ventures to connect with younger fans. The storybook “Freight Train Save the Day” details the power of kindness shaped by David the Freight Train (Peralta’s nickname in the clubhouse), who teaches little D-backs fan Kate to keep trying despite her struggles to learn to play the game. The book is provided for free in the Sandlots at Chase Field and other community events.
Additionally, with the help of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, a telemedicine robot named HOPE was purchased so Peralta and his fellow teammates could visit children virtually. Through iPad technology and the two-way robot, Peralta’s visits to the hospital were still made possible with COVID-19 precautions.
"That was unbelievable. When they told me about that, I was like, 'Can you guys do that?' I don't know, technology is crazy right now,” Peralta said. “I was really excited that we were able to talk to those kids and they were excited to see us and they were like driving the thing around the stadium and we were talking with all those kids. It was a little bit of something to make them happy. I know they're going through a hard time, [so having that access] it means a lot."
Even away from Chase Field, Peralta and his wife are bringing baseball to children. In 2020, they supported the construction of the David Peralta Field in Wickenburg, Ari., as the 43rd installment in the Diamondbacks Field Building Program.
Through it all, Peralta’s generosity extends to his home country of Venezuela, as well. Peralta delivers substantial donations of baseball gear, equipment and financial support for medical care and hunger through the David Peralta Fund for Venezuela.
His driving force behind his generosity was taught at an early age, but Peralta also does it so the people who come after him can fill his shoes.
“I want to be a role model to this young generation,” Peralta said. “[I want to] let them know it's never too late to be who you want to be and to work hard, to be disciplined and just show that you can do it.”