Major League Baseball today announced that AARON CIVALE was named the CLEVELAND INDIANS 2021 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball’s most prestigious individual honor for Major Leaguers.
The Roberto Clemente Award is 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.
As part of the annual program, each MLB Club nominates one player to be considered for the league-wide Award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character.
Civale 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 all season long. The right-hander signs his warm-up baseball prior to each start and ships the baseball to a friend in need at the Cleveland Clinic. Patients who receive baseballs often reach out to Civale, and he and Fran schedule Zoom calls to connect with the patients and offer words of encouragement virtually.
Civale 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.
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. Civale’s father worked at a LEGO manufacturing company throughout Civale’s childhood, and he brought lightly damaged LEGO kits home to his sons on a regular basis. Civale, who eventually went on to study mechanical engineering at Northeastern, and his brother would race to assemble the LEGO blocks the fastest, and Civale always followed the instruction manual step-by-step. While at Camp Curiosity,
Civale assisted the campers in a LEGO challenge that required them to build a spherical baseball out of LEGO blocks in 20 minutes.
Civale rallied his teammates’ support and represented the Indians organization at its Play Ball Clinic, in partnership with Major League Baseball. Civale, 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.
Cleveland will celebrate Roberto Clemente Day at Progressive Field on September 22 with a pregame on-field presentation recognizing Civale for his efforts in the community.
Wednesday, September 15th marks the 20th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy as a humanitarian and to formally acknowledge Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS), MLB.com, as well as Roberto’s children, Enrique, Luis and Roberto Clemente, Jr. Beginning today, fans can vote for the Roberto Clemente Award via mlb.com/clemente21. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Sunday, October 3rd. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” The recognition was renamed to the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.