Major League Baseball announced all 30 team nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, which will be officially recognized on Wednesday, Sept. 9, commemorating the 19th annual Roberto Clemente Day.
The Clemente Award, considered by MLB “the most prestigious individual honor for major leaguers,” honors the late Pittsburgh Pirates star’s legacy as a humanitarian. The award is given to the player who best represents the game through “extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”
The Puerto Rican-born Clemente was the first Latin American player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was a venerated figure for his achievements on and off the field. Among those achievements as a player: 15-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove winner, member of the 3,000-hit club, four-time batting champion and National League and World Series MVP.
Clemente died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972, as he accompanied a cargo plane departing San Juan, Puerto Rico, in an attempt to bring humanitarian aid to people affected by a devastating earthquake in Nicaragua. Months after his death, Clemente became only the second player in MLB history to have the mandatory five-year waiting period waived for Hall of Fame induction.
The Pirates previously announced that all players and coaches will his No. 21 on their jerseys to honor Clemente next Wednesday. Since Clemente’s death, no Pirates player has worn No. 21 on the field of play. The Roberto Clemente Day logo will also be emblazoned on the bases and official dugout lineup cards, and a special tribute video will be played in every ballpark that night.
Because of the nature of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, all teams were allowed to nominate players on restricted lists or players who were traded, released or designated for assignment. The winner will be selected by a combination of online fan vote and selections of a special blue-ribbon committee, which includes commissioner Rob Manfred and members of the Clemente family.
The 30 nominees: