10/24/2006 5:50 PM ET
Carlos Delgado named recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award
Award recognizes on-field excellence and commitment to community service
Carlos Delgado of the New York Mets was named the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig made the announcement today at a press conference prior to Game Three of the 2006 World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO.
Carlos Delgado was selected from a list of 30 nominees, one from each Major League Club, and he joins a distinguished list of past recipients that includes 11 Baseball Hall of Famers. A panel of dignitaries including Commissioner Selig and Vera Clemente, wife of the late Roberto Clemente, selected the 2006 Roberto Clemente Award recipient.
Presented annually, the Roberto Clemente Award honors the Major League Baseball player who combines outstanding play on the field with devoted work in the community. Major League Baseball has presented this Award annually 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.
"On behalf of the entire baseball family, I am thrilled to present Carlos with this award that celebrates his commitment to the community," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "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," said Vera Clemente. "His performance on the field and dedication and commitment to the community truly embody the spirit of this Award."
"It is an extreme honor for me to be selected for an award that bears the name of Roberto Clemente. He was a Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person. I wore uniform number 21 this year in his memory," said Carlos Delgado. "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."
Since becoming a professional baseball player in 1989, Delgado's main goal has been to improve the lives of children in his native Puerto Rico. Five years ago, he started a foundation called Extra Bases, to which he's personally donated a half million dollars. Extra Bases is a non-profit Puerto Rican-based charity that was founded to assist underprivileged and deserving youngsters in the community and abroad. Delgado is currently looking into expanding his foundation to help the children of New York City. The foundation is responsible for putting together an annual pre-Thanksgiving feast for hundreds of homeless, underprivileged and handicapped children in Delgado's hometown of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, where Delgado helps prepare and hand out the food. In addition, Delgado travels to various toy stores annually around Christmas time purchasing gifts and then personally delivering them to hundreds of children in Puerto Rico.
For the second straight year in 2006, he sponsored two, four-year college scholarships. In addition, he sponsored trips to New York City for the top students in Puerto Rico. Recently, over 35 students enjoyed a five-day tour of the Big Apple which was capped off with a lunch at Shea Stadium that included his attendance. Delgado inspired the children with a passionate speech about following their dreams. The youngsters were then treated to watch a Mets game.
For every home run Delgado hits during the regular season, he, along with corporate sponsors, donate, $2,400 to Extra Bases. Over $100,000 has been raised to date and $1 million over the last five years. Carlos also teamed up with fellow countryman, Carlos Beltran, last January in a home run derby at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. The nearby Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School, which provides academic scholarships and baseball training to Puerto Rican players, was the recipient of $75,000. Delgado and the Mets are also selling white wristbands with the inscription "Follow Your Dreams" at Shea Stadium. The monies raised will support the foundation. Also, he is hoping to expand his foundation to include minority, underprivileged children in the metropolitan area, especially in Queens. In addition, Delgado helped kick off the Mets' "School is Amazing" week in telling students at IS 145 in Jackson Heights, Queens, that getting a good education is important. "School is Amazing," a team partnership with NYC's Department of Education, celebrates the opportunities school offers to help children learn and develop. In addition, Delgado has made numerous hospital visits to cheer up sick children, he often invites children to Shea Stadium to meet him during batting practice.
On the field, long one of baseball's most consistent and productive sluggers, Delgado is a two-time All-Star and was the winner of the American League Hank Aaron Award as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2000, when he hit .344 with 41 home runs and 137 RBI. He is Toronto's all-time leader in runs scored (889), doubles (343), home runs (336), extra-base hits (690), RBI (1,058), walks (827), total bases (2,786) and slugging percentage (.556). In 2003, Delgado became the 15th player in Major League history to hit four home runs in one game en route to a club-record total of 145 RBI on the season.
In 2005, while with the Florida Marlins, he became the fourth player in Major League history to hit .300 with 30 home runs and 100 RBI in a season in both leagues, joining Dick Allen, Vladimir Guerrero and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. After participating in the inaugural World Baseball Classic for his native Puerto Rico in March 2006, the Mets first baseman became the tenth active Major Leaguer to hit 400th career home run and the fourth player in Major League history to hit 30 or more home runs in 10 consecutive seasons.
For a full biography of Carlos Delgado's charitable endeavors, visit the Roberto Clemente Award page on MLB.com.