For the fourth time in his career, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award.
“Everything I’ve ever heard about Roberto Clemente was that as great of a player he was on the field, he was that great of a man and humanitarian off the field, said Wainwright, via press release. “He set the bar for all of us, and I just can’t think of a better compliment than to be nominated for his namesake award.”
The Roberto Clemente Award is presented to the player who best “represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field”.
Along with his brother, Trey, Wainwright founded Big League Impact (BLI) in 2013 to provide basic needs including food, clean water, medical care and shelter in an effort to restore dignity and hope to those in need across the globe. The organization’s first fundraising event was Waino’s World Fantasy Football Draft which has grown to Wainwright now working with over two dozen MLB players to bring their charitable aspirations to life through Fantasy Football Drafts, game nights, and Swing for Impact events. Through Wainwright’s leadership, by the end of 2019, $4.5 million will have been raised by 150 players to benefit 60 charities.
This season, Wainwright also created the ALL WIN fundraising campaign, with teammates and fans making pledges per win with a $10,000 match by the Cardinals, to provide healthy meals across the St. Louis region and to create an Ag-tech program at Normandy High School.
Additionally, Wainwright and BLI partnered with Garth Brooks and his foundation Teammates for Kids and MLB to create the Home Plate Project, a league-wide initiative to support childhood hunger prevention and battle food insecurity. More than four dozen players donated $300,000 that will provide more than 3.6 million meals to over 25,000 children across the United States and Canada.
Previously known as the “Commissioner’s Award” the honor was renamed in 1973 to recognize the late Hall of Famer Clemente, a 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina won the Roberto Clemente Award last season and former Cardinals Carlos Beltran (2014), Albert Pujols (2008), Ozzie Smith (1995), and Lou Brock (1975) have also won the award.
photo credit: BIll Greenblatt/UPI