10/26/2004 6:15 PM ET
Edgar Martinez wins 2004 Roberto Clemente Award presented by John Hancock
Award recognizes commitment to humanitarian causes and community service
Edgar Martinez, who retired following the season after 18 years with the Seattle Mariners, has been named the 2004 winner of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by John Hancock, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today at a press conference prior to Game Three of the 2004 World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO.
The Roberto Clemente Award is presented each year to the Major League Baseball player who combines outstanding baseball skills with devoted work in the community. Martinez was selected from a list of 30 nominees, one from each Major League club.
The 30 club nominees were announced in September as part of Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball in 2002 to honor the memory of Roberto Clemente and officially recognize the local club recipients. In recognition of the Roberto Clemente Award nominees from each club, John Hancock Financial Services made a $2,500 contribution to each player's charity of choice.
John Hancock will present Martinez with a $25,000 check to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy in recognition of his selection as the 2004 Roberto Clemente Award winner. John Hancock also will make a $30,000 contribution in Martinez's name to Roberto Clemente Sports City, a multi-purpose sports and education center in Puerto Rico.
"Roberto Clemente's passion for the game of baseball and commitment to making a difference in the lives of those in need transcend time and continue to have an impact to this day," said Commissioner Selig. "This award, given in Clemente's honor, recognizes a player who not only puts his time and energy into the game of baseball, but extends that energy into the community. I congratulate Edgar Martinez for his outstanding and record-setting baseball career, but more importantly for the support both he and his wife Holli have provided to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. I would also like to thank John Hancock Financial Services for its continuing support of Major League Baseball and the Roberto Clemente Award."
"John Hancock would like to congratulate Edgar Martinez for being named the 2004 Roberto Clemente Award winner," said Carol Fulp, Vice President Community Relations, John Hancock Financial Services. "Edgar's dedication both on and off the field truly embody the spirit of the Award and the memory of Roberto Clemente."
"The Roberto Clemente Award means a lot to me because I grew up idolizing Roberto Clemente," said Martinez. "Like every kid in Puerto Rico, we knew what Clemente did as a player, but more than that, what he did to help unfortunate people in Puerto Rico and beyond. It is a great pleasure and a great honor to receive this award."
Martinez and his wife, Holli, have given back to the Seattle community in numerous ways throughout the years, contributing countless hours, funds and resources to charitable organizations and programs that have had a positive impact on children and families throughout the Pacific Northwest. He 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, much of their efforts have been devoted to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the couple also has helped raise funds and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy.
The most prolific designated hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, Martinez finished his playing career as the all-time leading designated hitter in batting average, home runs and RBI. Martinez recently was honored for his career accomplishments with the announcement that the American League Designated Hitter of the Year Award will be officially renamed "The Edgar Martinez Award." Martinez, a seven-time All-Star, won the Designated Hitter of the Year Award five times during his career.
Still acknowledged as one of the most feared hitters in the game, this season Martinez tied for eighth in the American League in intentional walks and finished with 128 hits, the 12th time in his career that he compiled more than 125 hits in a season. The Mariners' all-time leader in batting average, hits, doubles, walks and games played, Martinez also ranks among the club's top 10 in a number of other categories including at-bats, runs scored, home runs, RBI, total bases and extra-base hits.
"My congratulations to Edgar Martinez and his wife, Holli, for being selected this year's recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by John Hancock," said Vera Clemente, the wife of the late Roberto Clemente. "Martinez is arguably the greatest designated hitter in Major League Baseball history and one of the most accomplished hitters in Mariners' history. His performance on the field is surpassed only by his commitment to making a difference in the community and the positive effect he's had on the lives of others."
This award has been presented annually by Major League Baseball since 1971. In 1973 the award was named to honor Clemente, who died on December 31, 1972 during a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The winner of the 2004 Roberto Clemente Award presented by John Hancock was selected by a panel of dignitaries including Commissioner Selig, Vera Clemente, and David D'Alessandro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Financial Services.
John Hancock Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States. Founded in 1862, the company today offers a broad range of financial products and services, including whole, term, variable, and universal life insurance, as well as college savings products, fixed and variable annuities, long-term care insurance, mutual funds and various forms of business insurance.
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and most of Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$360 billion (US$269 billion) as at June 30, 2004. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '0945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.