Carlos Beltran has been one of the better MLB players of the 2000s. He is the only switch hitter in history to have 300 HRs and 300 SBs. He has battled through a lot to get to where he is in his life and career, and now his journey has brought him to the Gateway to the West.
Beltran signed a two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals before the 2011 season. He was the biggest piece that the Cardinals added to make up for the production that they lost during free agency. After signing, Beltran revealed that he always respected the Cardinals organization and how they and the city treated their players. As Mark Mulder mentioned to me when he visited the Cave months ago, there is no better place in the country to be good than when you are good in St. Louis for the Cardinals.
Beltran carried this team for the first half of the season, and he has begun to heat back up now that the Cardinals are in the Postseason. Another reason why he signed with St. Louis is because he is trying to reach his ultimate career goal for the first time: winning a World Series title. However, whether he reaches this goal with St. Louis or not, he is leaving an indelible mark on his new city.
Beltran the St. Louisan
As I mentioned above, Beltran has always had a certain affinity for the Cardinals and the city where they play. He acclimated to the city quickly, and he was made to feel welcome by the hometown fans as all of the Cardinals’ biggest stars are.
As such, Beltran has already been trying to infuse a bit of himself into the culture of St. Louis. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported, Beltran and his wife will be hosting a Puerto Rican themed charity event called “A Night in Old San Juan.” This event will show off some of the food and dancing of Beltran’s native Puerto Rico. As with most things, Beltran is doing this event to have a good time and to help others.
Beltran has a tremendous focus on philanthropy and helping out with the communities that he resides in. In many ways, Beltran is following in the footsteps of his childhood hero and fellow Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente. All of the money that he will get from his “A Night in Old San Juan” party will go to the Cardinals Care foundation and his very own baseball academy in Puerto Rico.
Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy
Beltran helped to fund and build a $10 million baseball academy in Florida, PR. The school opened just a year ago, and it already has over 100 students enrolled. By next year, the school should have its first graduates and hopefully some players taken in the MLB draft.
Here is part of the mission statement of his school:
“Our mission is to provide a dynamic learning experience where young people can develop and enhance their athletic abilities while striving for academic excellence. As part of our compromise we strive to prepare them to lead responsible and productive lives as compassionate human beings.” (carlosbeltranacademy.org)
For a man whose goal has been to help children excel in baseball and academics in his home, this is a dream come true for him. Furthermore, Beltran, a devout Christian, feels that it is his duty and calling to bless people with the money he has been able to earn with his God-given talent. Beltran definitely embodies this attitude, and his actions speak loudly on his convictions.
So, even with Beltran’s ultimate goal still in question this Postseason, Cardinals fans and St. Louisans can be assured that their new hometown hero is a great citizen to have around. As a Cardinals fan myself, I hope to see Beltran celebrating his first World Series win in the city that he has grown to love.