Catcher Yadier Molina has been named the St. Louis Cardinals 2018 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. Molina will be recognized in an on-field ceremony prior to the Tuesday, September 11th game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. It is the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.
"To be named the Cardinals' Roberto Clemente nominee is a great honor because Clemente is a legend and my hero," said Yadier Molina. "Clemente showed me that it doesn't matter where you come from, you can help people and that is my goal."
Molina, who grew up in Puerto Rico, established Foundation4 in 2010 to benefit youth impacted by poverty, abuse and cancer. Foundation4 has funded a safe house for battered children, an anesthesia machine for Puerto Rico Children's Hospital in Bayamon and the growth of the Fundacion Go Gogo in Ponce, a facility that cares for pediatric cancer patients. His giving expanded last year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Molina travelled to Puerto Rico with seven industrial-sized crates of supplies and spent weeks distributing provisions, clearing debris and repairing homes in the island's poorest and hardest hit areas. Through fundraisers in Puerto Rico and St. Louis, Molina has raised over $800,000 to date, to aid recovery efforts. In St. Louis, he supports Cardinals Care in their mission of caring for kids and his teammates' charitable efforts.
"Yadi is known for his on-field leadership and play but few know of his tireless efforts to improve the lives of children both in Puerto Rico and his adopted city of St. Louis," said Michael Hall, Vice President, Community Relations & Executive Director, Cardinals Care. "Like his hero, Yadi gives quietly to allow the focus to be on those in need. We are proud to have him as a member of the Cardinals."
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, who will be announced during the 2018 World Series, will be selected among the group of 30 nominees via a blue ribbon panel that includes individuals connected to the game. The blue ribbon panel includes Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB.com, as well as Vera Clemente (the late Roberto's wife & MLB Goodwill Ambassador). Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans from Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday, September 5th, until Tuesday, September 18th. 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. Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day each September since 2002.
Previous Cardinals to win the Roberto Clemente Award include Carlos Beltran (2013), Albert Pujols (2008), Ozzie Smith (1995) and Lou Brock (1975). More information and award nominees for all 30 MLB teams can be found at mlb.com/clemente21.