'It's an honor:' Salvy earns second Clemente nomination

September 17th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Anne Rogers’ Royals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

KANSAS CITY -- Long before Royals catcher Salvador Perez became a World Series MVP and perennial All-Star and the fourth Royals captain in team history, he was looking up to and learning from players such as Andrés Galarraga, Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, who all told and showed Perez that having an impact off the field is just as important as what they do on the field.

Perez took that advice to heart. Now he is a World Series MVP and perennial All-Star and the fourth Royals captain in team history -- but also a two-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee.

“It’s an honor to be nominated,” Perez said. “Roberto Clemente, he was good on the field. But he was better off the field. So to be able to wear No. 21 and be the nominee, it’s an honor, especially as a Latin American. God gave me something that allows me to help people, and you never know when someone needs help. It’s a blessing to be nominated. It’s one of the best awards in baseball.”

Perez is one of 30 nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, the annual recognition of 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.

The program allows each MLB club to nominate one player to be considered for the league-wide award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. The league winner of the Clemente Award will be honored at the 2023 World Series.

“[Perez is] an iconic figure in the game, certainly here in Kansas City but across the game, he’s one of the most widely respected people on and off the field,” manager Matt Quatraro said. “That exemplifies what Roberto Clemente Day is about and what he stood for as a person.”

Perez has contributed his time and financial resources to several organizations in his home country of Venezuela. He’s paid for reconstructive surgeries for children born with cleft lips and provided thousands of toys for children’s hospitals and meals for families in need. He’s coached in the Carlos Fortuna Organization, providing training and support to the families of boys from Latin America who are pursuing professional baseball.

And each year, Perez sponsors hundreds of kids at a baseball academy he created with his family in Venezuela.

“I know one of those kids is going to be in the big leagues someday,” Perez said. “They love to play baseball. … Whatever happens to them, wherever they go, I hope they remember this and how we helped them so we can maybe motivate them to help others.”

Perez was a charter sponsor of the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy with a donation of $1 million, and he’s mentored and coached underserved youth in Kansas City. He’s also partnered with Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer.

“When you see others helping people, you say to yourself, ‘OK, let’s do it. Why not?’” Perez said. “We have a platform, and we have to use it.”