St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran was named the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, on Saturday night. The award is presented to the Major League Baseball player who combines outstanding playing ability with community service.
Among his many charitable endeavors, Beltran founded the Carlos Beltran Foundation with his wife Jessica and increased his involvement with local charities.
The former Met is also celebrating the first graduating class at his Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, a high school he founded in Puerto Rico while with the Mets and to which he has given more than $4 million.
The $10 million school has 130 students now and Beltran flew from Cincinnati to Puerto Rico on an off day on a Cardinals trip in June for the initial graduation. Forty-three seniors from the school either received college scholarships or were selected in the annual June baseball draft.
This summer Beltran organized Hispanic Heritage Day at Busch Stadium and purchased tickets for local Hispanic youth. He has been a regular visitor to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and he and his wife partnered with the Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis to create the Carlos Beltran Scholarship Award.
“I am very honored and blessed to receive this award,” Beltran said prior to game three of the World Series on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
“I never got a chance to watch Roberto Clemente play, but I have seen a lot of film of him. When I was a kid I always wanted to be like him.”
Clemente was killed in a plane crash on December 31, 1972, while helping transport relief supplies to Nicaragua after an earthquake on December 23 that killed more than 6,000 people.
“Not everyone chooses to give back but I take a lot of pride in doing that,” Beltran said. “I do it because I know it opens a lot of doors.
“I come from a humble family and we had to fight to get where we are now.
“As a country we are going through tough times. I decided to help other families like mine.”
Congratulations to Carlos…