ST. LOUIS - The winner of the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award is Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran. He was presented with it in Busch Stadium before Game 3 of the World Series. The annoncement was made by Vera Clemente, Roberto's widow.
The Roberto Clemente Award is given by Major League Baseball annually to the player "who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement." It is named after Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash in 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Beltran, 36, definitely put together a season that Clemente would have enjoyed. He hit .296/.339/.491 with 30 doubles, 24 homers and 84 RBI while once again turning in some big-time clutch moments in the postseason, making his first World Series. Also of note is that both Beltran and Clemente came to the majors via Puerto Rico.
In terms of off-the-field work, Beltran continued to operate the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico -- which he established in 2011 with $3 million of his own money. The Academy offers high-quality education and athletic experiences for youth that otherwise wouldn't get those opportunities. He even flew back this past summer on an off-day to congratulate the first graduating class.
That isn't all, though. Beltran also raised $160,000 for the Carlos Beltran Foundation with his Night in Old San Juan Gala. The Foundation gives money to local St. Louis charities and helps to continue to fund the Academy. He also has a "Beltran's Buddies" program to benefit underprivileged youth in the St. Louis area.
The first winner of the award in 1971 was Willie Mays -- at the time it was called the Commissioner's Award. In 1973, the award renamed to honor Clemente. Clayton Kershaw won the award last season. Some other past winners include David Ortiz, Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols. A litany of Hall of Famers have also won.