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Carl R. Pohlad Award


The Carl R. Pohlad Award recognizes outstanding community involvement and on-field performance of one current Twins player or coach each season. The winner receives $5,000 from the Twins Community Fund to be granted to the charity of their choice.

2019 Winner: Nelson Cruz

Twins slugger Nelson Cruz is from the northwestern part of the Dominican Republic, very close to the Haitian border. He shares his first name with his father. As a teenager, Nelson began getting scouted by Major League Baseball; however, his father insisted Cruz finish high school before training with a pro baseball team.

The education that was frustrating for Cruz as a teenager he now sees as a blessing - and he has focused much of his off-the-field efforts to provide students around the world educational opportunities.

Cruz founded the Boomstick23 Foundation in 2016 to empower children and young people in situations of social vulnerability, developing skills and abilities through education and sports to improve the environment and their quality of life. The foundation offers scholarship opportunities and more to students in need.

Nelson hosts medical clinics in the Dominican each offseason, focusing especially on dental hygiene. He also hosts a baseball clinic in his hometown, inviting other Major League players to join him for the event.

In only one season for the Twins thus far, Nelson has already made a big impact. He hosted a Vitilla Clinic for Twins RBI All-Stars in June, teaching the kids how to play "Dominican Baseball" and treating them to a day of a fun while teaching them about his life growing up in the Dominican Republic.

Cruz also has attended hospital visits, met with Make-A-Wish participants, and supported multiple Twins Community Fund events in 2019 as well as made a financial contribution to the Fund. A leader off the field as well as on it, Cruz has encouraged many of his teammates to join him at charitable events this season.

Past Winners

2018 - Jose Berrios
2017 - Kyle Gibson
2016 - Eduardo Escobar
2015 - Brian Dozier
2014 - Brian Duensing
2013 - Glen Perkins
2012 - Denard Span
2011 - Carl Pavano
2010 - Jesse Crain
2009 - Justin Morneau
2008 - Joe Mauer
2007 - Johan Santana
2006 - Michael Cuddyer
2005 - Ron Gardenhire

2004 - Torii Hunter
2003 - Doug Mientkiewicz
2002 - Brad Radke
2001 - Corey Koskie
2000 - Denny Hocking
1999 - Ron Coomer
1998 - Terry Steinbach
1997 - Rick Aguilera
1996 - Paul Molitor
1995 - Kirby Puckett
1994 - Kent Hrbek
1993 - Brian Harper