Adam Wainwright to Receive 2020 Roberto Clemente Award

photo: Adam Wainwright via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Major League Baseball press release

All-Star pitcher Adam Wainwright has been named recipient of the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award, the most prestigious individual player honor by Major League Baseball. Wainwright, nominated by the St. Louis Cardinals, is the sixth Cardinals player to win the Award, the most by any MLB Club, joining Hall of Famers Lou Brock (1975) & Ozzie Smith (1995) as well as Albert Pujols (2008), Carlos Beltrán (2013) and Yadier Molina (2018). Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. officially announced Wainwright’s selection during the first-ever Roberto Clemente Award special on MLB Network from Studio 21 in Secaucus, N.J.

Wainwright, who was previously nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award by the Cardinals from 2015 to 2017 and then 2019, is being recognized for his outstanding philanthropic work around the world through Big League Impact (www.bigleagueimpact.org), which he founded in 2013. Some of his highlighted efforts include:

  • Constructed Haiti’s Ferrier Village Secondary School, which opened for the 2019-2020 school year. Also partnered with Water Mission to build a clean water system for the community.
  • In Honduras, BLI funded the construction of a clean water system servicing more than 15,000 people.
  • In Ethiopia, his mission trip there led to the purchase of an 11-acre plot that is now the site of a clinic and a dairy and crop farm. Adam also partnered with Crisis Aid International to feed children in Africa who would have died of starvation, and also provided aid to help give victims of sex trafficking a new opportunity at life.
  • BLI’s relationship with Crisis Aid provides weekly meals for 3,000 families in the greatest need, including a local campaign that helps feed 200 families per year in South St. Louis.
  • In 2019, Big League Impact partnered with the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation to launch the MLB- and Club-backed “Home Plate Project” to address family and childhood food insecurity. To date, the effort has provided nearly 8 million meals across the United States and Canada, including 4 million meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More than 150 Major League players have worked with Big League Impact to bring their charitable aspirations to life, with appx. $5.8 million donated to 94 charities.

“Congratulations to Adam for this well-deserved recognition of his long and meritorious philanthropic efforts in St. Louis, across the United States and around the world,” said Commissioner Manfred. “The personal and dedicated attention he has given to addressing issues that affect those in greatest need is a wonderful demonstration of Roberto’s humanitarian legacy. He is most deserving to be counted among the recipients of this prestigious honor.”

In a joint statement, Roberto’s sons – Luis, Roberto Jr. and Enrique – said: “2020 is of special significance as we observe the first anniversary of our mother’s passing. Her contributions to humanity are immeasurable. Her dedication to the true meaning of the Award added to its significance. We find comfort in knowing that MLB has these exceptional gentlemen representing the league, their teams, their families and communities where they play, live and beyond. We are honored to welcome Adam Wainwright to the family of Clemente Award Winners for his career-long passion to help others. Adam truly exemplifies our father’s beliefs and values, leveraging the baseball platform to give voice to the voiceless. The Clemente Family congratulates Adam in becoming the recipient of the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award.”

Adam Wainwright

“On behalf of the entire Cardinals organization, I would like to congratulate Adam on his deserving selection as the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award honoree,” stated Cardinals Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt, Jr. “In addition to his many accomplishments on the field, Adam has been a tireless contributor in the community and around the globe, giving back to those in need. There can be no better tribute to Roberto’s lasting legacy than the difference-making humanitarian efforts demonstrated by Adam and past Clemente Award winners.”

Wainwright said: “This is the crown jewel of any award I have ever received! But, to me, it’s more than just an award. What Mr. Clemente stood for, and the way he lived his life on and off the field, goes beyond what any award could fully embody. Even being mentioned in the same sentence with him is an incredible honor. I feel very blessed and honored to receive the Clemente Award, and I will continue to try and live up to his standards as long as I live. And, the reason we feel led to help people is not for trophies or accolades of any kind…. but I have to admit… this trophy is pretty awesome! Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this happen. It is truly a dream come true.”

Wainwright was selected from a list of 30 Club nominees by a distinguished panel that included Commissioner Manfred, former players (including former Roberto Clemente Award winners) and journalists from MLB-affiliated network partners – MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS – and MLB.com, as well as Roberto’s children, EnriqueLuis and Roberto Clemente, Jr. Additionally, fans were given the chance to vote via MLB.com/Clemente21. Each September since 2002, Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day to recognize all 30 Roberto Clemente Award nominees and to honor the Hall of Famer’s indelible legacy.

The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a Major League player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field. The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” It was renamed to the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 to honor the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

The distinguished list of past Roberto Clemente Award winners includes 19 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

1971: Willie Mays + (Originally known as the Commissioner’s Award prior to 1973)
1972: Brooks Robinson + (Originally known as the Commissioner’s Award prior to 1973)
1973: Al Kaline +
1974: Willie Stargell +
1975: Lou Brock +
1976: Pete Rose
1977: Rod Carew +
1978: Greg Luzinski
1979: Andre Thornton
1980: Phil Niekro +
1981: Steve Garvey
1982: Ken Singleton
1983: Cecil Cooper
1984: Ron Guidry
1985: Don Baylor
1986: Garry Maddox
1987: Rick Sutcliffe
1988: Dale Murphy
1989: Gary Carter+
1990: Dave Stewart
1991: Harold Reynolds
1992: Cal Ripken Jr. +
1993: Barry Larkin +
1994: Dave Winfield +
1995: Ozzie Smith +
1996: Kirby Puckett +
1997: Eric Davis
1998: Sammy Sosa
1999: Tony Gwynn +
2000: Al Leiter
2001: Curt Schilling
2002: Jim Thome +
2003: Jamie Moyer
2004: Edgar Martínez +
2005: John Smoltz +
2006: Carlos Delgado
2007: Craig Biggio +
2008: Albert Pujols
2009: Derek Jeter +
2010: Tim Wakefield
2011: David Ortiz
2012: Clayton Kershaw
2013: Carlos Beltrán
2014: Paul Konerko
2014: Jimmy Rollins
2015: Andrew McCutchen
2016: Curtis Granderson
2017: Anthony Rizzo
2018: Yadier Molina
2019: Carlos Carrasco
2020: Adam Wainwright

(+ denotes Hall of Fame member)