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Award history

 AWARD RECIPIENTS
2010 Tim Wakefield
2009 Derek Jeter
2008 Albert Pujols
2007 Craig Biggio
2006 Carlos Delgado
2005 John Smoltz
2004 Edgar Martinez
2003 Jamie Moyer
2002 Jim Thome
2001 Curt Schilling
2000 Al Leiter  
1999 Tony Gwynn  
1998 Sammy Sosa  
1997 Eric Davis  
1996 Kirby Puckett  
1995 Ozzie Smith  
1994 Dave Winfield  
1993 Barry Larkin  
1992 Cal Ripken, Jr.  
1991 Harold Reynolds  
1990 Dave Stewart  
1989 Gary Carter  
1988 Dale Murphy  
1987 Rick Sutcliffe  
1986 Garry Maddox  
1985 Don Baylor  
1984 Ron Guidry  
1983 Cecil Cooper  
1982 Ken Singleton  
1981 Steve Garvey  
1980 Phil Niekro  
1979 Andre Thornton  
1978 Greg Luzinski  
1977 Rod Carew  
1976 Pete Rose  
1975 Lou Brock  
1974 Willie Stargell  
1973 Al Kaline  
1972 Brooks Robinson  
1971 Willie Mays  
2010 Winner:  Tim Wakefield, Boston Red Sox

Wakefield bio and stats
Press Release

Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox has been named the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet today at a press conference prior to Game Two of the World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Bestowed annually to the Major League Baseball player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field, the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet recognizes players who best represent the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions to their Clubs. The Award is named for the 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The Award pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing talented current players who truly understand the value of helping others.

"Major League Baseball congratulates Tim Wakefield for being named the recipient of the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "While Tim has put together a wonderful career on the field, his efforts off the field have had a lasting impact on the lives of young people, particularly in New England and Melbourne, Florida. We are proud to honor him with this prestigious Award."

Since 2004, Wakefield has been actively involved with "Pitching in for Kids," a non-profit organization dedicated to providing grants to improve the lives of children across the New England region. It encourages children to participate in special events to learn important life skills and the spirit of initiative and giving within the community. He has co-hosted a number of fundraising events for the organization, which have helped raise close to $1 million.

Additionally, he supports the Space Coast Early Intervention Center (SCEIC) in his hometown of Melbourne, Florida. The Center is a unique non-profit therapeutic pre-school program for children with special needs. He adopted the SCEIC in 1992 when it was struggling financially and faced closure. Since then, he has helped raise nearly $10 million for the Center through his annual Tim Wakefield Celebrity Golf Classic and Memorabilia Auction.

In 1998, Wakefield created the "Wakefield Warriors" program, which enables patients from the Franciscan Hospital for Children and the Jimmy Fund in Boston to visit with him and watch batting practice before all Tuesday home games at Fenway Park. Each year, Wakefield participates in the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, which last year raised $4.5 million.

"This is a very special day for me and I am extremely honored to be named the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award," said Wakefield. "Roberto's legacy truly epitomizes how an athlete should act, not only on the field, but off as well. That's what I've tried to emulate throughout my career. I feel very lucky to be living out my dream I had as a kid and I feel a responsibility to give back. I'd like to thank the Red Sox for their continued support in my off the field endeavors and the Pitching In For Kids Foundation for their help making a difference in the lives of children all over the New England area and beyond. I'd also like to thank MLB, Chevrolet and especially the Clemente family for this great honor that I humbly accept."

Wakefield was selected from a list of 30 nominees, one from each Major League Club, by a panel of dignitaries that included Commissioner Selig and Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Additionally, fans were able to log on to www.Chevy.com/clemente, which was powered by MLB.com and created specifically for the Roberto Clemente Award platform, and cast a vote for one of the 30 nominees. The winner of the fan vote was tallied as one vote among those cast by the selection panel.

"I congratulate Tim Wakefield and welcome him to the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet family," said Vera Clemente. "For many years I have learned of his contributions in improving the lives of children across the New England region and his hometown Melbourne, Florida. Roberto would be very proud to have Tim on his team of great humanitarians making a positive impact in the life of many youngsters."

Tim Wakefield has collected 193 wins over his 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1992-93) and Boston Red Sox (1995-Present). Wakefield, who was selected to his first career All-Star Game in 2009, is the longest tenured member of the Red Sox. The knuckle-baller's consistency has helped him to become one of the best pitchers in Red Sox history, ranking third on the club's all-time wins list (179) behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young (192 each). On June 8, 2010, Wakefield, who now has 2,851.1 innings pitched in a Sox uniform, surpassed Clemens' total of 2,776.0 innings pitched for the most in franchise history. In addition, his 93 wins at Fenway Park ranks second all-time to Clemens (100). In his first season with the Red Sox in 1995, Wakefield went 16-8 with a 2.95 ERA and finished third in the American League Cy Young voting. In 2004, Tim was a part of the Red Sox team that won its first World Championship in 86 years, and in 2007, Wakefield won a career-best 17 games while helping Boston to its second World Championship in four years. The 44-year-old right-hander was selected by the Pirates in the eighth round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Institute of Technology. Wakefield has pitched in 18 postseason games, including 11 starts, over eight postseasons throughout his career.

2009 Winner:  Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

Derek Jeter bio and stats
Press Release

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees has been named the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy today at a press conference prior to Game Two of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

Bestowed annually, the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy recognizes the Major League Baseball player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field. Major League Baseball has presented this Award each year since 1971. In 1973, the Award was named in honor of Clemente, who died on December 31, 1972, during a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

"Major League Baseball is proud to honor Derek Jeter for the lasting impact the Turn 2 Foundation has made on youth in communities across the country," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "In a year of career milestones for Derek, receiving the Roberto Clemente Award will inspire future generations of ballplayers and fans to give back to those in need. I would also like to thank Chevy for their continued support in honoring Roberto Clemente's legacy and spirit."

Jeter was selected from a list of 30 nominees, one from each Major League Club, by a panel of dignitaries that included Commissioner Selig and Vera Clemente, wife of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Additionally, fans were able to log on to mlb.com and cast a vote for one of the 30 nominees. The winner of the fan vote was tallied as one vote among those cast by the selection panel.

"This is a very special day for everyone involved with the Turn 2 Foundation," said Jeter. "Thank you to everyone at Major League Baseball, Chevy, and especially the Clemente family for this recognition. The Steinbrenner family and the Yankees organization have supported my work in the community my entire career, and I am very grateful for their encouragement. It is truly an honor to be mentioned alongside Roberto Clemente and the others who have won this Award over the years."

In 1996, Jeter turned a lifelong dream into reality as he established the Turn 2 Foundation to give back to the various communities that are a part of his life, including Western Michigan, Tampa (FL) and New York City. Since its launch, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grants to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "TURN 2" healthy lifestyles. Through these ventures, the Foundation strives to create outlets that promote academic excellence, leadership development and positive behavior. Turn 2 is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Jeter family with Derek in a hands-on role as Founder. In addition to contributing his own funds, Jeter hosts the annual "Derek Jeter Celebrity Golf Classic" and the "Turn 2 Foundation Dinner" to raise funds needed to successfully continue programs including "Jeter's Leaders", "Turn 2 Us Healthy Lifestyles", "Turn 2 After School", "Turn 2 Baseball Clinics", "Proud To Be Me", "Turn 2 Smart Moves", "Holiday Express", and the "Turn 2 Endowed Scholarships". Recently, the Turn 2 Foundation donated $500,000 to launch the "Derek Jeter Academy at Phoenix House" in Tampa, an outpatient counseling center for troubled teens combining individual and family substance abuse treatment.

"My heartfelt congratulations to Derek Jeter who truly embodies the purpose and spirit of the Roberto Clemente Award," said Vera Clemente. "I also wish to thank all of this year's Award nominees, Major League Baseball, Chevy and other members of our global baseball family for their tireless efforts. They exemplify the importance of community service and the profound impact that baseball continues to have in making the world a better place."

Throughout his 15-year career, Jeter continues to be one of baseball's most celebrated players on the field. Named the Yankee captain in 2003, Jeter is a four-time World Series Champion, a 10-time A.L. All-Star and the 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year. Jeter was also named both the 2000 All-Star Game MVP and the 2000 World Series MVP - the only time this has happened in baseball history. In 2009, the 35-year-old shortstop collected 212 hits, marking the third-highest single-season total of his career, reaching the 200-hit plateau for the seventh time in his career - one shy of Lou Gehrig's Yankee Club record. The seven 200-hit seasons are a Major League record for shortstops. On September 11, 2009, Jeter, who now has 2,747 career hits, surpassed Lou Gehrig (2,721) as the Yankees' all-time franchise leader in hits. The sixth overall selection in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft ranks first on Major League Baseball's all-time list with 167 career postseason hits, 95 postseason runs and 133 postseason games played.

For a full biography of Derek Jeter's charitable endeavors, visit the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy page on MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball.

2008 Winner:  Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols' bio and stats

For each of his first eight years in Major League Baseball, Albert Pujols has produced more than 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. That already is twice as long as anyone ever did before, but he said what happened at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night will bring him more gratification than anything in his storied career. The Cardinals' star first baseman received the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy before the scheduled start of Game 3 of the World Series in recognition of the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. As part of this year's presentation, Chevy is donating $30,000 and a 2009 Chevy Traverse to the Pujols Family Foundation.

As is customary before every Game 3 of the Fall Classic, Commissioner Bud Selig made the announcement on Saturday at a news conference that included the recipient as well as Vera Clemente, the widow of the great Roberto Clemente, who died in a 1972 plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. This award was first bestowed by MLB in 1971, and it was renamed in Clemente's honor in '73 and bestowed each year since.

"As a national pastime and as a social institution, we in baseball have important social responsibilities that we gladly welcome," Selig said. "Roberto Clemente is the symbol of our social awareness, and our effort to give back to all the communities in which we play the game.

"Albert Pujols has had another stellar year with the St. Louis Cardinals. However, it is his extensive and dedicated off-field efforts that have earned him this year's Roberto Clemente Award. Through the Pujols Family Foundation, Albert has been able to improve the lives of children and young adults with Down syndrome in the greater St. Louis area, as well as provide much-needed support to underprivileged children in his home of the Dominican Republic. He also sets time aside to support other organizations and causes, including the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Ronald McDonald House. I would also like to thank our partner Chevy, whose generous financial support of this award is instrumental in continuing the legacy of Roberto Clemente."

In addition to Chevy's aforementioned donation, Chevy will donate $30,000 to Roberto Clemente Sports City, a not-for-profit organization in Carolina, Puerto Rico, designed to provide recreational sports activities for children regardless of economic circumstances.

In giving his acceptance speech, Pujols became very emotional, and at times, he seemed on the verge of joyous tears. To see this reaction after observing such an even-keel, consistent demeanor on a game-to-game basis was quite powerful.

"[This is] a blessing, and I'm really honored," Pujols said. "First of all, I want to thank God to give me the opportunity to be here tonight and receive this award. I want to thank Major League Baseball and Chevy to be a part of this great award of Roberto Clemente. I want to thank my teammates, obviously, for the support that they give me during the year -- every event that we do for Down syndrome or golf tournament -- the fans in St. Louis and all over the United States and the Dominican Republic for the support that they give to the Pujols Family Foundation. I want to thank the Roberto Clemente family. I'm truly honored to receive this award. It's an honor to be here.

"It takes a lot of hard work for the Pujols Family Foundation, but it comes from our heart. I thank God every day for the opportunity he gives me to be in the big leagues and just take advantage of every little opportunity. I remember as a little boy in the Dominican Republic, all I want is to be in the big leagues. All I wanted was just to be a professional baseball player. I never thought this dream was going to come true and so quick in eight years.

"[Clemente] was not only a great baseball player -- everybody on this day remembers Roberto Clemente as a great baseball player, but we today remember him as a great man that loved other people and gave back to the community, whether in Pittsburgh or Nicaragua or Latin America or Puerto Rico. And I feel that's my responsibility, too, not just to be a baseball player, but to give back to others, whether in St. Louis or the United States or back in the Dominican Republic every year with our trip through the Pujols Family Foundation."

For more than three years, that foundation has been a driving force, with monetary gifts and humanitarian missions resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars being donated on his behalf. Founded in May 2005, the Pujols Family Foundation's mission is to reflect Albert and Deidre Pujols' love and compassion for children with Down syndrome -- something especially near and dear to their hearts; they have a 10-year-old daughter, Isabella, who has Down syndrome.

The Pujols Family Foundation has served more than 500 families affected by Down syndrome in the greater St. Louis area, with programs and events that celebrate the lives of these special children and young adults.

"At the end of the day, when all is said and done playing this game ... it doesn't matter what you did in the field, it's what you do off the field and the lives that you touch off the field. And I try to do that through our foundation. I try to do that when I go back to the Dominican Republic. I try to do that when I'm on the field because those kids, they look at us as a role model and we want to be a role model to those kids, because you never know.

"Like I was 15 years ago, a poor little boy in the Dominican Republic, my dream was just to be a professional baseball player. They might be somebody that day that you touch. And that person may become the best baseball player ever in the future. And probably in the future will thank me or any of us that touched their life."

This is what the Roberto Clemente Award means. It was probably a long time coming for the familiar No. 5 of the Gateway City.

"On behalf of the Clemente Family, I would like to congratulate Albert for his great success on the field, but more importantly, for his work off the field," Vera Clemente said. "I know Roberto is looking down at the work all of these players are doing to help others, and I know he is very proud that people like Albert are creating your own legacy as a great humanitarian."

2007 Winner:  Craig Biggio, Houston Astros

Craig Biggio's bio and stats

With 3,060 hits and 291 home runs, Craig Biggio will undoubtedly be remembered first for his offensive contributions during his 20-year Major League career. But it's quite possible the veteran second baseman is as recognizable to those in his adopted home of Houston for his affiliation with the Sunshine Kids as he is for his 668 doubles, a record for right-handed hitters.

Less than a month after he said goodbye to baseball and hello to retirement, Biggio, one of the most celebrated players in Astros history, was given the highest off-the-field honor in baseball -- the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award.

The award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.

The award was originally known as The Commissioner's Award, but was renamed in 1973 in honor of Clemente. A panel of baseball dignitaries, including Vera Clemente and Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, annually selects a winner from a list of 30 nominees, one from each Major League Baseball club. Past winners include Al Leiter, Tony Gwynn, Sammy Sosa, Willie Mays, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Kirby Puckett.

Biggio, the 2005 winner of the Hutch Award and the recipient of the 2006 "Heart and Hustle" Award, made it a hat trick this year, winning the top community service honor. Biggio was to receive the Clemente Award during a pregame ceremony prior to Game 3 of the World Series in Denver.

"It's a nice honor to be nominated for that," Biggio said upon learning he was nominated for the award in September. "Obviously, to be able to do something in the community is something I enjoy doing. I enjoy giving back. To get recognized for your efforts is a nice thing."

Over his 20 years in Major League Baseball, Biggio has been repeatedly praised for his work in the community, beginning with his devotion to the Sunshine Kids.

Since the early 1990s, Biggio has been active in the organization, a support group for children with cancer and their families. He hosts an annual baseball party at Minute Maid Park, at which more than 100 children with cancer play baseball, with Biggio serving as the pitcher.

Biggio and his wife, Patty, also host a holiday party at the Sunshine Kids house in Houston that the Biggios helped restore and furnish.

His unselfish commitment has featured numerous contributions to the foundation, including a pool table for the game room, Jungle Gym and a party deck which is used for activities for the kids at the Sunshine Kids house.

As the national spokesperson for The Sunshine Kids Foundation, Craig often visits the Sunshine Kids house and is regularly seen by national sports audiences wearing the Sunshine Kids pin on his baseball cap.

Through the annual Sunshine Kids Celebrity Golf Classic, Biggio has raised more than $2.5 million for the organization over the last 16 years.

"Everybody knows how much I love the Sunshine Kids," he said in September. "Roberto Clemente, that's what he was all about. He loved the game, but he loved giving back to the community. This award is a very nice standard."


2006 Winner:  Carlos Delgado, New York Mets

Carlos Delgado's bio and stats
Press Release

Nine days earlier, Carlos Delgado was in the same interview room at Busch Stadium to talk about the two home runs he had just hit for the Mets to even the National League Championship Series at two wins apiece.

He was back there on Tuesday for a very different reason. Out on the field, the Cardinals, and not the Mets, were taking batting practice before Game 3 of the World Series against Detroit. In this room, Delgado was receiving the Roberto Clemente Award in recognition of the player who in 2006 best exemplified sportsmanship, community involvement and contribution to his team.

"It is a weird feeling," he said Tuesday. "But this is very special. It's a totally different context. I think we were the best team in the National League. We just didn't win the series we needed to win. At the end of the day, St. Louis is going to say they won it, and we congratulate them, but in my mind we were the best in the National League."

That remarkable Game 7 last Thursday in New York meant that Delgado would not be at the World Series in quite the capacity he had wanted as a player, but no one could argue that he was deserving of the honor he was presented by Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the award's legendary namesake.

Major League Baseball has presented the award annually, beginning in 1971 when it was named The Commissioner's Award, to recognize the player who best exemplified sportsmanship, community involvement and contribution to his team. The award was renamed in 1973 in honor of Clemente, the former Pirates outfielder and Puerto Rican legend who died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua.

There were 30 nominees for this year's presentation, one from each MLB club, and Delgado was chosen as the third Mets recipient -- following Gary Carter in 1989 and Al Leiter in 2001. A panel of dignitaries, including Selig and Vera Clemente, made the selection.

"We found out last week and really had a hard time not telling everybody [at the NLCS], because it means so much," Delgado said. "This is a great honor, really special. Thirty-four years after Roberto has passed, his legacy is still very much alive. I don't know what else you can say about someone who has been gone for 34 years. He's an icon. I'm a fan. I would say, 'When I grow up, I want to be like that.'"

Delgado grew up in Clemente's homeland of Puerto Rico, and he grew up wearing No. 21 as a ballplayer to emulate his idol. Delgado said "everybody" on that island wants to wear that uniform number, which he regained in 2006 as a new member of the Mets.

"When I got to the Blue Jays, I was 21 until a guy you've probably heard of came aboard and wore No. 21," Delgado said, referring to Roger Clemens, who had joined Toronto from Boston. "So I took 25 at the time. When I went to the Mets this season, I switched back. I wore uniform No. 21 this year in his memory.

"Roberto's legacy to me is that it's an athlete's obligation to give back. That's what I have tried to do throughout my career."

Delgado is one of the game's biggest stars, and he takes the obligation to community seriously in that role, with a primary focus on children in his native country. He raises funds through his foundation, Extra Bases, a non-profit, Puerto Rico-based charity he founded in 2001 to assist underprivileged and deserving children. Delgado is in the process of expanding the foundation to serve the New York area as well.

Funds for the Extra Bases program are raised in part through the sale of bracelets at Shea Stadium -- the bracelets are inscribed with "Follow your dreams" and cost $3. Delgado's homers also raise money as he and corporate sponsors contribute $2,400 for each home run he hits. His slugging produced $91,200 in 2006 (38 homers) and more than $1 million over the last five years.

The foundation also stages yearly pre-Thanksgiving feasts for hundreds of homeless, underprivileged and disabled children in Delgado's hometown, Aguadilla. Delgado is on hand to help prepare and serve the food. In addition, he travels to various toy stores annually around Christmas and purchases gifts that he personally delivers to hundreds of children in Puerto Rico.

Delgado reinforces the importance of education, as well. This year, as he did last year, he is sponsoring two four-year college scholarships. In addition, he sponsors trips to New York for the top students in Puerto Rico. Recently, more than 35 students enjoyed a five-day tour of the Big Apple that was capped off with a lunch at Shea Stadium with Delgado, who inspired the children with a passionate speech about following their dreams.

Delgado also helped launch the Mets' "School Is Amazing" week in May by discussing the importance of getting a good education with the students of I.S. 145 in the Jackson Heights area of New York.

"Roberto Clemente's contributions as a person transcend time and continue to have an impact today," Selig said in making the announcement. "On behalf of the entire baseball family, I am thrilled to present Carlos with this award that celebrates his commitment to the community. His work with youth in Puerto Rico and New York are wonderful examples of the positive influence the game can have on the lives of others."

"My congratulations to Carlos Delgado on his selection as the recipient of the 2006 Roberto Clemente Award," Vera Clemente said at the table, with sons Luis and Roberto Clemente Jr. in attendance. "His performance on the field and dedication and commitment to the community truly embody the spirit of this award."

Delgado clearly was touched by the personal news last week that he had won this award. He asked that people visit extrabases.org for a "list of centers we work with, coming events, and to make a donation." But beyond that, in typical fashion, he was low-key in discussing his own charitable work.

"I'm not expecting any recognition, but this is special. There's a big group of players who make important contributions every day," Delgado said. "I'm blessed with health and energy and passion for the game of baseball, and I believe in children. They are the future. If we can put them in a position to make them more successful, then we have done our jobs."

Delgado would have liked to still be doing his job as a player right here in this setting. He appeared in two games as a rookie for Toronto in the club's repeat-championship season of 1993, but he was not on the postseason roster -- and then he never reached another postseason until this year.

The slugger took advantage of the grand stage in 2006, going 13-for-37 with four homers and 11 RBIs in the combined series against the Dodgers and Cardinals. Unfortunately for Delgado and the Mets, the road ended when he was left on deck in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 of the NLCS on Thursday against the Cardinals.

Delgado underwent a surgical procedure on Monday on his right wrist for carpal tunnel syndrome, and it was wrapped in a bandage during the Roberto Clemente Award ceremony. When Selig stood to shake his hand, Delgado had to offer his left hand instead.

"It feels good," Delgado said of the hand. "The operation took 10 minutes, and [it'll be] about two weeks before the wound closes, then I'm back to normal."

He actually was between surgical procedures here, because he is scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday for what the Mets described as "tennis elbow." Delgado said it is the same condition that kept him out of the starting lineup for Puerto Rico during the World Baseball Classic last March.

"We were able to manage the symptoms during the season," he said, "but you've got to get it done. I'll be all set next spring."


2005 Winner:  John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves

John Smoltz, who never really wanted to leave Minute Maid Park this month in the first place, made an ironic return Tuesday to accept the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award before Game 3 of the World Series.

The presentation happened 16 days after Smoltz and his Atlanta teammates were eliminated by the Houston Astros in an 18-inning National League Division Series game that was the longest in postseason history.

"Truly a little bit of irony here, coming back to this stadium," Smoltz said. "I'd seen enough in 18 innings, but this is the greatest trip of my life."

Commissioner Bud Selig and Roberto Clemente Jr. joined Smoltz at the podium to present this award, which has been given annually since 1971. In 1973, the award was named in honor of the legendary Hall of Famer, who died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while on a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Smoltz and his wife, Dyan, who joined him for the ceremony, formed the John and Dyan Smoltz Foundation in 1997 to support their many philanthropic endeavors, including the Kings Ridge Christian School in the Atlanta area. Established in 2001, Kings Ridge has received more than $1 million from the foundation, and Smoltz, a co-founder of the school, has raised nearly $4 million personally.

Smoltz's earliest community endeavors date back to 1992, when he began associating himself with the Atlanta Food Bank and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. With the Food Bank, he has helped raise money through golf tournaments and silent auctions.

He also continues to support them with his "Strike Out Hunger" program. With every strikeout he records, he donates $100. During his days as a closer, Smoltz renamed the program "Close Out Hunger." With every save, he made a donation.

In addition, twice a year, he signs autographs for fans who donate $20 or bring 20 canned goods to select Braves games. Since beginning these programs in 1997, he's raised over $300,000 and 70,000 pounds of food.

With Children's Healthcare, Smoltz has hosted a celebrity-amateur golf tournament. The tournament has raised more than $1 million over the past 13 years. There are many days in which he will simply stop by hospitals and spend time with sick children. He said his favorite such experiences come when there aren't any television cameras or media members detailing his visit, and his peers have recognized him in the past with the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2002 and '03.

Tuesday's recognition, Smoltz said, is the pinnacle of his baseball career from an individual standpoint. He also was accompanied by his father, John, who flew in from Michigan. Smoltz's brother was there as well. All of them would have loved to have seen Smoltz on the mound for a sixth World Series and first in this decade (he appeared in 1991, '92, '95, '96 and '99), but this moment may have exceeded any of those indelible memories in the grand scheme of things.

"I can't thank the Roberto Clemente family enough," Smoltz said, calling the late Hall of Famer and award namesake an "icon." "As players, you all know who Roberto Clemente is and what he did and how he did it. But truly I've gotten a chance to achieve some incredible successes. The [1996] Cy Young Award, a [1995] World Series championship, and I'm not saying this because you're here or I'm not saying this because the Commissioner is here, this truly is the greatest award ... that a player can achieve and accomplish. And I mean that. It goes above those awards because it has the opportunity to affect so many people.

"This is who I am, this is how I was raised by my Dad. My wife has given me the amount of time and sacrifice with our four children, and I truly can say when I received this news that it was the greatest time in my 18-year career so far."

Roberto Clemente's widow, Vera, was unable to attend but said, "My congratulations to John Smoltz on his selection. ... His performance on the field and dedication and commitment to the community truly embody the spirit of this award."

Roberto Jr. told Smoltz at the head table: "It's not about being a great player, because everyone knows that already, but this honor is for you as a family, as a person, a special person. And for us, it's a great honor to be very happy that you are the recipient of this award ... and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being that special person."

Responding to those comments, Smoltz said, "I thank you for modeling what your Dad had incredibly endowed in baseball. And like you said, everyone knew how great a baseball player he was. But everybody gets to see with each recipient. I feel like of the 700 and some baseball players, to be the one chosen to represent that, I will do, in the times that I feel like it gets very difficult, this will remind me what an incredible award it is.

And I thank everybody who had a part in it. Commissioner, thank you for baseball, and John Hancock [the award's sponsor] for representing us. I hope to carry on the legacy in the honor of your father. I thank you very, very much."

Every Major League team selected a Roberto Clemente Award recipient who was then eligible for the national award, and those 30 nominees were announced by Major League Baseball on Sept. 7 as part of Roberto Clemente Day in baseball. A panel of dignitaries including Selig and Vera Clemente then selected the award winner.

"I want to say when I reviewed the voting and the 30 people who won for their individual clubs, I mean it really makes you proud to be the commissioner," Selig said. "The qualifications of the other 29 were just remarkable, but John, I have to say to you, it is a great honor because yours really stood out and it stood out after looking at a marvelous, marvelous group."

Then he told Smoltz: "Sincere congratulations on a life well done."

Smoltz is the first Atlanta Braves to receive the award since Dale Murphy in 1988, and that former Braves great was recognized in Smoltz's acceptance.

"My whole career, it's never been about trying to achieve something like this; it's who I am," Smoltz said. "And it's what I believe the Atlanta Braves and baseball players in general represent. Negative sometimes sells and sometimes gets attention. And I can honestly say that this is a tribute to my teammates and myself and the Braves organization for giving me a chance to shine and make a difference.

"I get blessed to be with some great charity organizations, and because of that name on my back and the name on the front of my chest, I hope to represent it with what I consider the living guide that I played with. Dale Murphy is the guy that I think best exemplifies what baseball is about on and off the field, and I got a chance to play with him.

"Seeing everything about Roberto Clemente and hearing [my name associated with this award] just sends chills to know that I'm going to have this in my house, and have it a lot higher than the Cy Young, I can tell you right now."


2004 Winner:  Edgar Martinez, Seattle Mariners

Martinez wins Clemente Award | Press Release | Edgar Martinez Bio
• 2004 Clemente Award press conference: 350K 
Roberto Clemente Award fact sheet
Roberto Clemente Day celebrated
2004 Clemente Award nominees announced

Edgar Martinez and his wife, Holli, have given back to the Seattle community in numerous ways over the years. Through countless hours, funds, resources and contributions, they will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of children and families in the Pacific Northwest for years to come.

Martinez has supported several charities and non-profit organizations throughout his career, including: Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Children's Hospital, Overlake Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wishing Star Foundation, United Way, Esperanza, Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs and Mariners Care.

Since 2001, Martinez and his wife have been involved with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. The mission of the organization is to help enable people with Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy to survive, thrive and fully participate within their families and communities. His involvement with Parent Project not only has helped bring attention to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most common lethal genetic disorder diagnosed in children, but has helped raise significant funds for new research in Seattle.

In December 2001, he and his wife hosted "A Night of Hope" fundraising dinner and auction. The event raised $100,000 for Parent Project and created two research fellowships for Seattle-based scientists studying Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

In March of 2003, they stepped up to support Overlake Hospital Medical Center as honorary co-chairs of the hospital's $2.5 million community phase of the Auxiliaries & Foundation $28 million Capital Campaign. The couple served as major campaign spokespersons, making public service announcements (PSAs), hosting community events and helping the hospital with their efforts to improve medical care in the Seattle community. Their involvement with the campaign extended through the 2004 Grand Slam Bandage Ball. The event, for which Martinez procured numerous auction items, raised $1 million.

He also is a longtime supporter of Children's Hospital. In 2002, he served as the Honorary Chair of the Children's Hospital Wishing Well Night at Safeco Field. Martinez was featured in television PSAs promoting Wishing Well donations. In addition, he procured auction items to raise additional funds. The event raised more than $120,000 for Uncompensated Care at Children's Hospital. In 2003, he teamed up with Harley Davidson to create a poster benefiting Children's Hospital and proceeds from the poster sales were nearly $9,000. He also has made numerous visits to the hospital to spend time with kids and put smiles on their faces.

Martinez also has been involved with the United Way. He filmed a PSA to encourage people to support the 2003/2004 United Way Campaign. In September of 2003, he was named the United Way of King County Community All-Star Award winner for his contributions to the United Way and to the community.

In addition, Martinez is a big supporter of Esperanza, a non-profit organization that provides health care and educational opportunities, along with family assistance and economic development programs, for poor families in Latin America. Esperanza awarded Martinez its inaugural International Award of Hope for his contributions.


2003 Winner:  Jamie Moyer, Seattle Mariners

Moyer wins 2003 Roberto Clemente Award
MLB Press Release | Mariners Press Release
Nominees for 2003 Roberto Clemente Award

Since arriving in Seattle in 1996, Jamie Moyer has become one of the most accomplished pitchers in Mariners history and is among the most effective in the game today, leading the major leagues in winning percentage over the last eight years. However, his efforts off the field are even more impressive. Moyer and his wife, Karen, have been active members of the community for years, contributing countless hours, funds and resources to charitable organizations and programs throughout the Pacific Northwest and inspiring hundreds of others to become more involved in their communities.

In July 2000, Moyer and his wife created The Moyer Foundation in an effort to bring people and resources together to help improve the quality of life for children in the community. The mission of their foundation is to offer encouragement, comfort and support to children and families enduring a time of profound distress -- whether it's physical, emotional or financial. Since its inception, the Moyers and The Moyer Foundation have raised nearly $3 million and have helped support more than 100 different organizations.

In July 2003, Moyer held his 4th Annual Jamie Moyer Invitational Bowling Tournament to benefit Child Life programs at Children's Hospital, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Child Life programs help ease the fears children and families have while undergoing cancer treatment, facing emergencies or life-threatening diseases. The event brought together more than 25 Mariners players, coaches and celebrities and raised more than $210,000. Since 2000, Moyer's bowling tournaments have raised more than $685,000 for local charities.

This year, Moyer also teamed up with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to create The Gregory Fund, a new initiative, which raised funds and awareness for early detection cancer research. On August 17, 2003, Moyer and The Moyer Foundation raised nearly $250,000 for The Gregory Fund through a 12-hour radiothon and two Celebrity Waiters Dinners.

Moyer and his wife also have been active in supporting Hospice and bereavement issues for children in Washington and Indiana. In 2001, inspired by Erin Metcalf, a young teen Moyer met through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he helped create Camp Erin, the first bereavement camp for children and teenagers in the greater Seattle area. Moyer donated the proceeds from his 2nd Annual Bowling Tournament, more than $100,000, to establish the camp and provide an accepting and safe environment where bereaved children can share their grief experiences with one another.

He also is a supporter of LifeCenter Northwest Donor Network, an organization that facilitates organ donation, raises public awareness about organ donation and encourages families to make informed decisions. Jamie raised more than $125,000 for the organization through his first bowling tournament and has created several public service announcements about the issue.

Moyer also has taken a stand against domestic violence. Since 2000, he has served as the spokesperson for the Seattle Mariners' "Refuse To Abuse" campaign with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The statewide community education and prevention campaign features Moyer in various public service announcements for radio, TV and print media.

He also is involved with Mariners Care, the Mariners' non-profit foundation, and its programs including: Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), Home Run Readers, Mariners DREAM Team School Assembly program, Seattle Mariners Back To School Rally and the Mariners Get Well Tour.


2002 Winner:  Jim Thome, Cleveland Indians

Thome wins 2002 Roberto Clemente Award | Press Release
Nominees for 2002 Roberto Clemente Award

Jim Thome has become a community icon for many throughout Northeast Ohio. Over the past five seasons, Tribe fans have become accustomed to participating in Jim Thome's annual Christmas toy collection drive at an area mall.

Fans donate a toy in exchange for a Jim Thome autograph. Then Jim and wife, Andrea, spend two days dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus -- delivering the toys to numerous youth groups that serve disadvantage kids. This year over 600 toys were collected and distributed to over 300 kids and the elderly.

Jim has also served as the honorary co-chairman of the United Way Softball Slam, formally known as (United Way Home Run Derby), for the past five seasons. This program has helped to raise nearly $200,000 for United Way's youth programs since 1996.

Over the past six years, Jim has held two charity events annually at the Children's Hospital in his hometown of Peoria, IL and supplied all the memorabilia for the charity auction through contacts in baseball and around sports. He raised over $200,000 for hospital for their support services and programs.

Jim has joined other Major League Baseball teams across the country to participate in CapCure Home Run Challenge and Breaking Barriers In Sports, In Life. Selected as the Marvin Miller "Man of the Year" in 2001 as voted by members of the MLBPA for his services in the community, Jim has made numerous commitments to the Fans for the Cleveland Indians and throughout baseball.

This past May, Jim donated $100,000 to Cleveland Indians Charities, which is earmarked for the development of youth baseball field complex on Tri- Campus.

In addition, Jim too, supports annual events and fundraisers sponsored by Cleveland Indians Charities such as the Opening Day Luncheon and Tribe Jam.


2001 Winner:  Curt Schilling, Arizona Diamondbacks

From 1993 through 2000, while he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Curt Schilling and his wife, Shonda, raised $1.5 million for ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Through his winning spirit and commitment to ALS, he set a precedent in Philadelphia for a high standard of community service.

After becoming familiar with his new playing field in Arizona, the Schillings launched a campaign to help the local fight against ALS and created immediate awareness for the cause. The Schillings donated $1 million to be split evenly between the Arizona ALS chapter and the Valley of the Sun United Way.

Curt not only made made monetary contributions but took a "hands on" approach to assisting his favorite charities. Curt personally pitches sponsorship opportunities to the business community in an effort to support ALS. This season, Curt and Shonda hosted an auction during a Diamondbacks telecast that raised more than $30,000. The Schillings will also host a golf tour this winter.

In addition to his longstanding support for the fight against ALS, Curt is involved in community and team-related activities. He has starred in a public service announcement supporting the Valley of the Sun United Way, and in the Shirts Off our D-Backs program and the Diamondbacks Winners Circle.

Curt was the Phillies Roberte Clemente Award winner in 1997 and 1998. Despite leaving the Phillies last year, he was awarded the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Humanitarian Award for his work with ALS. In 1996, he was named by USA Today Weekend as Baseball's Most Caring Athlete. He also received the March of Dimes Philly-of-the-Year Award honor.


2000 Winner:  Al Leiter, New York Mets

When Al Leiter signed his four-year contract with the Mets in 1998, he pledged one million dollars to charity. Two years ago Leiter and his wife, Lori, founded Leiters Landing, a foundation to help children in need. The charitable organization is committed to the betterment of youth through education, health care and social and community service. Leiters Landing also serves as a fundraising arm to assist other children's charities. Some of the activities associated with Leiters Landing have included donating computers to underprivileged schools in Harlem, helping to launch a program where young volunteers work with Meals-on-Wheels to deliver meals to 15,000 home-bound elderly, working extensively with organizations like the Starlight Foundation, which helps terminally ill children, and participating in hospital visits throughout the year. The Leiters also distribute Mets tickets to numerous youth groups, including Happiness is Camping -- a camp for kids with cancer; Exodus House -- a school for advanced students in Harlem; and the Ronald McDonald House.


1999 Winner:  Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres

The sheer volume of Tony Gwynn's community service record distinguishes him from even his most civic-minded peers. Tony and his wife, Alicia, established the Tony and Alicia Gwynn (TAG) Foundation in 1994 to fund deserving local charitable organizations. The main fundraising event for TAG is the annual Tony Gwynn Celebrity Golf Tournament.


1998 Winner:  Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs

In true Roberto Clemente style, Sammy Sosa not only gives to the local Chicago community, but to his homeland of the Dominican Republic as well. In the Dominican he has financed a $1.2 million office/retail building known as "30-30 Plaza." With the building of this facility, Sammy has employed hundreds of local citizens. Back in Chicago, Sammy launched "Sammy Claus," where he visited five U.S. cities distributing 7,000 toys to underprivileged children. He also sponsors two RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) Teams and frequently speaks to kids about the importance of education. These are just a few of Sammy's many civic and community contributions.


1997 Winner:  Eric Davis, Baltimore Orioles

Upon returning to baseball after a two-year absence due to injury, Eric resumed Eric's Outfield Club, meeting with disadvantaged and disabled youth and providing them with game tickets and special prizes. He is a supporter for Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities program, lending his help to this national effort that provides role models for youth and builds their self-esteem and motivation. He also founded the Eric Davis Youth Foundation in Los Angeles to provide funds for school and recreational park projects.