Wednesday marks the 18th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor the late Hall of Famer’s legacy as a humanitarian. Each of the 30 clubs announced their nominees for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award last week, and each player will be officially recognized Wednesday.
According to Major League Baseball, “the Roberto Clemente Award 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.” And MLB calls the honor “the most prestigious individual award for Major League players.”
“I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give.” – Roberto Clemente
— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) September 18, 2019
Among this year’s nominees are a number of Christ-followers making a difference in their communities.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is being recognized largely for his work through Big League Impact, which he founded in 2013 to meet basic human needs, such as food, clean water, medical care and shelter. He now works with dozens of players in their charitable efforts, and by the end of 2019, $4.5 million will be raised by 150 players to benefit 60 charities.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson works with Big League Impact as well, but also organizations such as One Child Matters, Bright Hope Ministries, Help One Now, Boys and Girls Club, the Twins Community Fund and Twins Territory charities. He’s also established a program that provides Twins tickets to Christian and urban youth groups, and he meets with each group to share his testimony.
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson is being honored for his annual financial contributions to the Brewers Community Foundation, as well as his Strike Out Poverty Campaign through the Food for Hungry organization. He is also an active supporter of Blessings in a Backpack, the Hunger Task Force and Habitat for Humanity, while also making visits to hospitals, community-based organizations and schools.
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has a heart to raise awareness for childhood illnesses, and in 2019 the Davis family donated $5 million to help build a new pediatric hybrid Catheterization/Operating Room and upgrade the current one at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. Davis and his wife, Jill, are honorary board members and ambassadors for UMCH.
Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Eduardo Escobar aims to break the cycle of poverty, and so he has delivered thousands of backpacks and school supplies to low-income children this year, including school uniforms and shoes to at-risk students. His Eduardo Escobar Foundation supports education, health and wellness of children in the U.S. and Venezuela, his homeland.
This year’s Roberto Clemente Award winner will be announced in late October during the World Series. Fans can see all 30 nominees and vote for their pick through Sept. 29.
“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” — Hebrews 6:10
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