Beltrán Named This Year’s Recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award

Carlos Beltrán may need a larger trophy mantle…

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball star, an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, has been named this year’s recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award.

Carlos Beltrán

Beltrán, a three-time Golden Glove Award, two-time Silver Slugger Award and two-time Fielding Bible Award winner, was seated next to Clemente’s widow, Vera, when he was honored on Saturday, about an hour prior to Game 3 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Members of Clemente’s family also attended the news conference.

“I must say this year’s recipient truly exemplifies Roberto’s philosophy,” said Vera Clemente. “Carlos Beltrán, you are the pride of all Puerto Ricans.”

Beltrán has contributed more than $4 million to his Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico and has hosted fundraising efforts throughout the year.

“A leader by example on the field, Carlos has demonstrated his leadership off the field as well,” said Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. “The academy has made a real difference in the lives of young men in Puerto Rico.”

The award recognizes the player whose contributions on and off the field best represent the game. The award was named for the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer  who died on December 31, 1972, in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Beltran grew up idolizing Clemente’s achievements.

“I never got a chance to watch him play or anything like that,” Beltran said. “When I was a kid I always wanted to be like him, having an opportunity to play baseball and having an opportunity to give back.”

More than 1.3 million fans voted online with results taken into consideration.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the award last year, and David Ortiz of the Red Sox won in 2011.

Correa Becomes the MLB’s First Puerto Rican No. 1 Draft Pick

He’s only 17-year-old… But Carlos Correa has already made it into annals of baseball…

The Houston Astros selected the Puerto Rican baseball phenom as the No. 1 pick Monday night, making him the first player from Puerto Rico to lead off the Major League Baseball draft.

Carlos Correa

“This means a lot,” said Correa, who was all smiles when he heard his name called, knowing he’d made hometown history at the baseball draft. “We’ve got a lot of good players there.”

Despite producing its share of baseball royalty like Roberto Clemente, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Juan Gonzalez and Bernie Williams, Correa is the first selection from Puerto Rico. Some of those players signed as free agents — catcher Ramon Castro had been the highest-drafted player out of Puerto Rico, going No. 17 to Houston in 1994.

“I feel so excited to be the No. 1 pick,” said Correa, who was congratulated by Delgado on Twitter. “I’ve worked so hard to be here.”

It was the first time Houston had the top pick in the draft since 1992, when the Astros selected Phil Nevin — passing on future star Derek Jeter, who went five spots later to the New York Yankees.

“I have read about that,” said Correa, calling Jeter his idol. “I want to be like him. He’s awesome.”

Carlos Correa

First-year Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Correa “has a chance to be a star” who could hit 20-30 home runs in the pros, whether it’s in his current role as a shortstop or “ultimately maybe third base.”

Correa said he’d like to stay at shortstop and plans to use his signing bonus to help his family.

As he walked to the podium and shook hands with commissioner Bud Selig before a brief hug, Correa pulled out a small Puerto Rican flag and held it up to cheers from the crowd of major league representatives and fans gathered in the stadium-themed studio.

While recent drafts lacked first-pick intrigue, Luhnow said the Astros didn’t settle on Correa until about an hour before they went on the clock. Several mock draft lists predicted the Astros would select Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, but instead Houston made a somewhat surprising selection — although Correa was considered one of the top five players available.

Correa, who has an incredibly strong arm and terrific instincts on defense, may be the highly sought after “big-time bat” for the middle of Astros lineup. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound star from Santa Isabel was a star at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He’s committed to the University of Miami, but will likely head to Houston’s farm system instead.

“Right now, he stays at shortstop and if he was to happen to grow out of it, it’s the power that’s the attraction here and it’s the middle of the order potential impact bat,” Astros scouting director and assistant general manager Bobby Heck said. “So if he has to move, his profile is still very, very strong.”

Meanwhile, Florida high school outfielder Albert Almora was selected sixth by the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m speechless,” said Almora by phone in an interview with MLB.com, about an hour after the 18-year-old was drafted. “I don’t remember much of anything that happened tonight. I know that the Cubs drafted me, and I’m grateful, but I’m still kind of shocked and overwhelmed.”

The first round and the compensation rounds are completed Monday night, with rounds 2 through 40 conducted over the next two days via conference call with the teams.

Clemente’s Stellar Career to be Celebrated Through Music…

The story of the life and times of the late Roberto Clemente—the first Latino baseball player inducted into the Hall of Fame—will soon be told through music in the Big Apple.

The musical “DC-7, The Roberto Clemente Story” will shine a spotlight on the legendary Afro-Puerto Rican baseball player’s life, including the discrimination he suffered, his extraordinary success on the field during his career and the humanitarian work that led to his untimely death at the age of 38.

Robert Clemente Musical to Open in New York City

“I don’t just want to talk about the ballplayer, but about what he suffered, about his having to sit in the back of the bus, go to other restaurants and stay at other hotels [for blacks], about being attacked, about how much he had to fight,” added Caballero.

The curtain opens on Clemente’s wake following his death when the DC-7 he was flying in while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua crashed into the sea off the coast of Costa Rica on December 31, 1972.

“Besides showing Roberto the baseball player, I want people to see Roberto the humanist, his relations with his wife, his kids, as a brother and the racial problems he faced in the [19]50s and ’60s,” says Luis Caballero, the play’s author.

Starring actor Modesto Lacen, who appeared as Pedro Knight in the musical about the life of late salsa queen Celia Cruz, the musical run from November 11-December 4 at the Society of the Educational Arts‘ new TEATRO SEA in New York City.

Clemente, a 12-time Golden Glove winner with 3,000 hits, played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973—the only current honoree for whom the mandatory five-year waiting period was
waived since the wait-requirement was instituted in 1954.

Clemente was also the first Hispanic player to win a World Series as a starter, win a league MVP award and win a World Series MVP award.