Yadier Molina has been named the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Roberto Clemente Award in recognition of his exemplary humanitarian efforts, including relief work in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/vOo6SWUxBT— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 24, 2018
The award is annually presented at the World Series by commissioner Rob Manfred along with Vera Clemente, the MLB's Goodwill Ambassador and the widow of the late, great Roberto Clemente. Clemente tragically passed away in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972 at age 38 while attempting to get Earthquake relief aid to Nicaragua. The award was originally named the Commissioner's Award, but was renamed in Clemente's honor after his death.
It is given every season 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."
"It's a great honor to win this award and it's even more special to me because I'm Puerto Rican," Molina said. "For us, Clemente is a hero and a legend and we highly respect and admire him not only as a one of the greatest players but as a humanitarian who lost his life helping those in need and to be associated with him is a true privilege."
Molina winning this year seems especially fitting. Clemente was from Puerto Rico and was the first Latin American and player from the Caribbean to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Molina is also from Puerto Rico. His earning this award loops all the way back to last season with his efforts on his home island in the wake of Hurricane Maria (STLtoday.com and mlb.com have articles on this). He has continued through the season as well.
"One of the things closest to Roberto's heart was his beloved island of Puerto Rico, and Yadi's commitment to help the Puerto Rican community heal after such a catastrophic event embodies Roberto's philanthropic spirits," Vera Clemente said. "It is my honor to welcome Yadi to this wonderful family of Roberto Clemente Award winners."
"Yadier has been one of Baseball's greatest representatives as a perennial All-Star while also devoting himself, often without fanfare, to communities and families in St. Louis and Puerto Rico," said Commissioner Manfred. "Most notably, the results of Yadier's personal efforts this past year to support Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria have been both meaningful and inspiring. On behalf of Major League Baseball, we congratulate Yadier for adding this prestigious honor to his already exemplary major-league career."
The Cardinals have now had five winners of the Clemente Award: Lou Brock (1976), Ozzie Smith (1995), Albert Pujols (2008) and Carlos Beltran (2013).
Molina isn't a stranger to hardware. He's now got eight Gold Gloves, four Platinum Gloves, a Silver Slugger and two World Series rings.
There will be an on-field presentation prior to Game 2 in Fenway Park.