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.
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.