CHICAGO -- The timetable for Marcus Stroman’s return to the mound was not always clear over the past several weeks. As it happened, the Cubs pitcher made his comeback from the injured list on Friday, a fitting moment for his first game back with the North Siders.
Major League Baseball celebrated Roberto Clemente Day on Friday, which coincided with the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Stroman is one of the 30 nominees for the 2023 Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
“Honestly, that's huge,” Stroman told reporters in Arizona this past weekend. “In the future, I have a lot that I'm going to start doing as far as giving back. … Any way I can contribute or get out into the inner city to put smiles on faces and just communicate with the kids [is beneficial].”
Stroman has been involved on a number of fronts throughout his MLB career, and that has continued in his time with the Cubs.
This season, he has hosted groups from multiple schools around Chicago at Wrigley Field, while also heading to schools in the city to share his story and perspective. Stroman has authored a pair of semi-autobiographical books for youth (“The Grip” and “The Spin”), which tell of overcoming adversity to achieve his dreams.
In his time with the Cubs, Stroman has partnered with Chicago’s Lost Boyz youth baseball program, hosted kids at a movie screening, donated his books at various events and hosted a group from the Merging Vets & Players initiative. He has also partnered with local businesses to provide food, experiences and transportation for community groups for a variety of events.
Stroman also has a charitable foundation known as “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart,” which has been involved with community endeavors throughout his career. The foundation’s name stems from Stroman’s story of overcoming the perceived odds as a 5-foot-7 pitcher in Major League Baseball.
In parts of nine seasons in the Majors, Stroman has been a two-time All-Star and won a Gold Glove Award. He has received Cy Young Award votes and pitched in multiple postseason games. Stroman was the MVP of the World Baseball Classic for Team USA in 2017, and he also pitched for Puerto Rico in the Classic in ‘23 to honor his mom.
Stroman hopes to continue to use his platform -- and variety of programs and initiatives -- to keep showing kids that their dreams are attainable, no matter where they live or how they look.
“Not a lot of kids from the inner city see people that look like myself, especially in the big leagues,” he said. “To be an African-American Puerto Rican, nobody ever [sees me and thinks of me being] a baseball player. They usually say artist, boxer, rapper.
“So for kids to see what I look like and things that they can relate to, like I said, I'm always going to be a voice for the next generation.”