KANSAS CITY, Mo. (September 14, 2021) – Major League Baseball announced today that catcher Salvador Perez was named the Kansas City Royals’ 2021 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball’s most prestigious individual honor for Major Leaguers.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition by 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.
“It’s a great honor to be nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award,” Perez said. “I always knew his name as one of the greatest players ever but have learned so much more about his work off the field and all the lives he touched. He’s someone that every player should want to be like.”
Perez has been prominently involved with Teach for America over the last several years, volunteering to participate as a “Shark” at the group’s Shark Tank: Teacher Edition in Kansas City in 2016. Since then, he’s hosted teachers at Kauffman Stadium during Royals games as well as made monetary donations to Teach for America through Royals Charities. He also donated 400 sets of toy bats and balls for Teach for America’s Back to School Bash, which is attended by youth from all over the city to gather necessary supplies for the upcoming school year.
While education is of utmost importance to Perez, it’s just part of his community involvement as he coached a clinic for kids through the Carlos Fortuna Organization in Bogota, Colombia; filmed surprise messages for Royals fans during lockdown; supported essential workers at local grocery stores during the pandemic; continued his work as a member of “Sarah’s Soldiers” by supporting local police officer, Sarah Olsen, through her battle with ALS; and once again partnered with Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer and created memories for local pediatric cancer patients.
Wednesday, Sept. 15 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, Oct. 3. 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.