CHICAGO — Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson was named the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on Friday, given annually to recognize the player who best represents baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions both on and off the field.
The announcement was made by Commissioner Rob Manfred before Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time | 8 ET game time on FOX) at Wrigley Field. Vera Clemente, widow of the late Pirates star who was killed delivering relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua and an MLB Goodwill Ambassador, helped make the presentation.
“Curtis Granderson is an outstanding ambassador for our game and a positive role model for kids,” Manfred said. “His commitment to the many communities that have touched his life and the great impact of these efforts makes him a very deserving recipient of our most prestigious award.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball and all of our clubs, I congratulate Curtis and thank him and all of our nominees this year for everything they do to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Granderson was selected from a list of 30 nominees, one from each team, by a panel that included Manfred and Vera Clemente. Additionally, fans were able to cast ballots on social media for the first time.
The Mets star is a three-time All-Star and 2011 Silver Slugger Award winner, but he has been just as impressive in his charitable endeavors.
He made a personal donation of $5 million toward the construction of a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor baseball complex at the University of Illinois at Chicago, his alma mater. Curtis Granderson Stadium opened in 2014 and provides nearly 10,000 inner city youth with a year-round, safe environment. The complex is also home to Granderson’s semi-annual Grand Kids Foundation’s Youth Clinics.
He holds clinics year-round in Chicago, New York and in Florida during Spring Training, not only teaching kids baseball but also lessons about hard work, dedication and how to be a leader. Granderson brings groups of children to Mets games at Citi Field and has helped raise money for New York’s City Harvest, United Neighborhood Houses, the USO of Metropolitan New York and the YMCA.
He also has actively supported the Mets’ commitment to the military, acted as the official MLB spokesperson for anti-obesity and “Drink Up” water initiatives and was a player member of the MLB On-Field Diversity Task Force.
Paul Hagen is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Source: Mets News / Granderson wins Clemente Award for charity, community efforts