Clemente's legacy inspires Trevino on diamond, in community

September 24th, 2022

NEW YORK -- Jose Trevino’s first choice for a high school uniform number was No. 2, paying homage to Derek Jeter’s impact on the dynasty-era Yankees. As he prepared for his junior season, the future big league catcher heard a different name, one that sent him rushing to the library: Roberto Clemente.

It was Steve Castillo, the head baseball coach at St. John Paul II High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, who first made Trevino aware of Clemente and his legacy. As Trevino recalls, Castillo suggested that Trevino change his uniform number to No. 21, which he did.  

“He was like, ‘The way you play and go about your business at school; you remind me of Roberto Clemente, the way he used to be,’” Trevino said.

That conversation remains meaningful to Trevino, who has been named a Clemente Award nominee for the second consecutive year. The Clemente Award is bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

“Like [Clemente] said, if you have a chance to impact somebody and you don't, that's a missed opportunity,” Trevino said. “For all the guys in this clubhouse and around MLB, I don't think we understand how many kids and how many people look up to us or how many people gather around a TV every night to watch our games. That brings families together.”

Growing up in Ben Bolt and Alice, two small towns outside of Corpus Christi, Trevino’s  passion for baseball was instilled by his father, Bugé. His dad equally inspired Trevino’s work in the community.

Since 2017, Trevino has held Trevino’s Toy Drive, a project that collects hundreds of toys and monetary donations delivered to families in need of assistance during the holidays. The toy drive has assisted many organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Alice and the West Side Helping Hand.

In 2021, Jose held his Trevino Toy Drive Classic, a youth baseball tournament in Dallas that saw 50 youth baseball teams participate. As part of the weekend, approximately 5,000 unwrapped toys and clothes were collected and donated to Operation Once in a Lifetime, an organization that serves U.S. servicemembers, veterans and their families.

This year, in partnership with Big League Impact, Jose started a campaign to raise money for Special Hearts in the Arts, an organization that provides the opportunity for individuals with special needs to showcase their artistic talents.

“I’ve always wanted to be a role model for kids,” Trevino said. “I think it's pretty cool for kids from back home to see me now and say, ‘You're my favorite player.’ I just tell them all the time, ‘Hey, maybe one day you’ll be in my shoes.’ I think as players, we have a bigger impact on people than we think. More guys are starting to realize that.”