Major League Baseball today announced that Triston McKenzie was named the Cleveland Guardians 2022 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Capital One, baseball’s most prestigious individual honor for Major Leaguers.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Capital One 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.
This past offseason, immediately following the conclusion of the lockout, McKenzie requested to dive back in to his True2U Mentorship and player program. The 24-year-old is in his second year of mentoring eighth graders at Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Valley View Boys’ Leadership Academy. McKenzie met with his classroom of about 20 youth on Zoom multiple times throughout Spring Training and the start of the regular season. Finally, after an entirely remote 2021 mentorship and several remote mentorship sessions in 2022, McKenzie was able to visit the students in-person at Valley View Boys’ Leadership Academy.
Throughout the course of the program, McKenzie highlighted Jackie Robinson’s influence on Major League Baseball and specifically on his career and opportunity in baseball. McKenzie shared with students his path to the Major Leagues and talked at length about his decision-making process to get to this point in his career. His parents, he told them, were a huge part of his decisions throughout high school. McKenzie’s nickname “Dr. Sticks” stemmed from his desire to become a doctor and his tall, thin stature on the baseball diamond in high school. His aspirations to become a doctor, he said, naturally came from his mom’s influence as a very successful nurse.
McKenzie later hosted his class at Progressive Field for a pizza party and a game. McKenzie met with his class in the stands before the game and talked to them about his day-to-day routine at his workplace, his goals for the season and for the game that day. The group then had the chance to be the “Play Ball Kids” with McKenzie, of course, and were featured on the scoreboard prior to the game.
McKenzie thrives in the community with groups he meets with on a reoccurring basis. He enjoys not only meeting youth but especially having the chance to interact with the same youth again in the future. In his down time, he continues to visit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of NE Ohio named McKenzie their 2022 Race for Kids Ambassador in June. McKenzie attended the race and assisted in handing out awards following the race. He took the microphone and offered some congratulatory messages and high fives to the participants who took part in the event at the Cleveland Zoo.
“To be nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award is a huge honor for me,” McKenzie said. “As a baseball player, it’s not only what I can do on the field but how I can impact my community. To me, even the fact that my small efforts are worthy of being nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award is a huge blessing, and I’m just happy to be in this place.”
Thursday, September 15th marks the 21st annual Roberto Clemente Day presented by Capital One, 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. Additionally, a customized tribute video to both Roberto and his wife Vera – Momentito(in English and Spanish) – will be shown in all MLB ballparks on Roberto Clemente Day as well as on MLB Network, MLB.com, Club sites and MLB Social Media Platforms.
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Capital One will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including Commissioner Manfred, representatives from Capital One, 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 presented by Capital One via mlb.com/clemente21 (English) and LasMayores.com/clemente21 (Spanish). The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Wednesday, October 5th. 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.