Carrasco Named 2019 Roberto Clemente Award Winner
Bob Toth | On 26, Oct 2019
Every year since 1971, Major League Baseball has recognized a player for his contributions to the community and for representing a philanthropic attitude with a desire for helping others. Each club nominates a player and the winner is picked annually during the World Series.
“We are proud to welcome Carlos Carrasco to the prestigious fraternity of Roberto Clemente Award winners,” commissioner Rob Manfred shared in a press release on Friday. “The Roberto Clemente Award is the most important individual player award due to the genuine impact that Major League Players have on those who are most in need. Carlos, through his global philanthropic efforts, is an excellent example of someone who selflessly acts on behalf of the less fortunate and embodies the spirit of our game’s most celebrated humanitarian.”
Initially named the Commissioner’s Award, the honor was renamed for the late Clemente, whose own efforts to help those in need after an earthquake in Nicaragua led to his untimely death on New Year’s Eve, December 1972, in a plane crash in Puerto Rico.
Carrasco was honored on the field prior to Game 3 of the World Series in Washington, DC.
“Winning the Roberto Clemente Award is one of the most prestigious honors,” said Carrasco in a news release of his own on Friday. “This is something that I have dreamed of, and I am very excited to share this honor with the Cleveland Indians and my home country of Venezuela. I hope to continue giving back to others and inspire more players to help in the community.”
Carrasco’s off-the-field battle with leukemia was well documented this season. The pitcher left the team in early June after dealing with on-going health concerns that eventually culminated in the diagnosis. He made an improbable return to the Major League mound on September 1, pitching eleven times for the Indians in the final month of the season, serving the club out of the bullpen.
Giving back is hardly a new thing for Carrasco. His public battle with blood cancer brought him to the Cleveland Clinic, where he spent time visiting children suffering from similar conditions. He has also spent time over the last five years giving back in his native Venezuela and neighboring Colombia, donating money, food, medical supplies, and toys. He gave away shirts and caps during the Tribe’s trip to Puerto Rico last year and he spent part of last offseason in Africa, where he gave out supplies to children and families in need. He also spends his offseason passing out lunches to the homeless every other Sunday in Tampa, where he resides during his break from baseball.
Carrasco was also recognized by Major League Baseball during this year’s All-Star Game, when festivities were paused during the fifth inning during the yearly in-game “Stand Up to Cancer” campaign. Carrasco was joined on the third base line by present and former Indians teammates, as well as manager Terry Francona, and received a loud and extended ovation from the hometown Cleveland crowd.
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was last year’s recipient.
Photo: Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images