MLB Celebrates 16th Annual Roberto Clemente Day

Major League Baseball celebrates its 16th annual Roberto Clemente Day, named after the greatest MLB player to ever come from the talent-laden island of Puerto Rico, an icon and unforgettable example and Gold Standard for socially conscious and culturally embracing athletes who use their sports celebrity to uplift people. 

Pgh Public Schools on Twitter

The Pittsburgh @Pirates are celebrating Roberto Clemente Day at Pittsburgh Westinghouse #WeArePPS

Baseballhall.org explains Roberto Clemente Walker’s powerful legacy and untimely death perfectly:

On Dec. 23, 1972, Nicaragua suffered a devastating natural disaster – an earthquake. It left incredible damage throughout the capital of Managua. In only eight days, Clementes impassioned pleas throughout Puerto Rico resulted in donations of $150,000, numerous boxes of food, clothing and medical needs. But Clemente had heard reports that the donations were not being distributed to those who needed them the most.

On the evening of Dec. 31, Clemente boarded a plane filled with relief supplies, but the overloaded plane would never reach its final destination. It plunged into the ocean off the shores of Puerto Rico.

Although millions were grief-stricken upon hearing the heartbreaking news, Clementes family and intimate friends even total strangers who Clemente befriended in his lifetime werent shocked by his actions. On the contrary, its a side they already knew existed.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball revealed the 30 club nominees for the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award. Its an honor, which goes to a player from each club who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. It’s undoubtedly an award that allows you to locate the “good guys” of the game. 

American League nominees are Chris Davis of Baltimore, Rick Porcello of Boston, Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox, Carlos Carrasco of Cleveland, Miguel Cabrera of Detroit, Jose Altuve of Houston, Drew Butera of Kansas City, Cameron Maybin of the Los Angeles Angels (since acquired by Houston), Joe Mauer of Minnesota, Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees, Liam Hendriks of Oakland, Robinson Cano of Seattle, Evan Longoria of Tampa Bay, Cole Hamels of Texas, and Marcus Stroman of Toronto.

SportsDayDFW on Twitter

Rangers nominate Hamels for Clemente humanitarian award | @gfraley https://t.co/OQdBK8f33c

National League nominees are Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona, Jason Motte of Atlanta, Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs, Scooter Gennett of Cincinnati, Ian Desmond of Colorado, Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dee Gordon of Miami, Matt Garza Milwaukee, T.J. Rivera of the New York Mets, Cameron Rupp of Philadelphia, Josh Harrison of Pittsburgh, Adam Wainwright of St. Louis, Hunter Renfroe of San Diego, Buster Posey of San Francisco and Ryan Zimmerman of Washington.

The list of nominees features Major Leaguers whose work in the community focuses on important issues ranging from awareness and fundraising of childhood cancer and other illnesses, education, outreach to underserved children and communities in the U.S. and abroad, care for veterans and more.

Clemente was an invaluable member of the Pirates baseball family and the city. Hes simply called The Great One because it not only describes his incomparable exploits on the diamond but the content of his character. He helped many Latin ballplayers transition into American life once coming over to playball. He taught them life skills and etiquette and embraced a Jackie Robinson-style load of responsibility, humility and leadership. 

Light of Life on Twitter

The @Pirates and @LevyRestaurants are serving at the Mission today for Roberto Clemente day! #RobertoClementeDay

Over the years, his principles have been the driving force behind many positive projects, programs, celebrations and community creations as his spirit has remained a part of everything that is good about baseball, community, culture and celebrity. 

Pirates on Twitter

Join us September 6th at PNC for our special Fiesta Latina and celebration of Roberto Clemente Day! https://t.co/MiMyT2O6Gf

“This award represents everything Roberto stood for as a ‘good Samaritan,'” said MLB goodwill ambassador Vera Clemente, Roberto’s wife. “Through the Roberto Clemente Award, today’s players are recognized for these same qualities.”

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.