Yadier Molina the veteran catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals has won the award that is named after Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Both the late Clemente and Molina are from Puerto Rico.
Clemente played in the All-Star Game 15 times for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but died in 1972 in a plane crash while carrying humanitarian aid to Nicaragua to help earthquake victims. Each team has a player it nominates who is best representative of the humanitarian spirit.
Molina has provided aid to Hurricane Maria victims after that storm ravaged Puerto Rico in the summer of 2017.
Molina said he was very proud and equally honored to receive such a prestigious award and it was a dream come true for him.
Molina added he and others do not help people thinking of an award, because help comes from the heart and you want to help those in need.
Molina said he hoped the award raises awareness of the continued plight of many in Puerto Rico. Many homes still do not have roofs, many people still do not have water and many people lost everything including their homes. His foundation, Fundacion 4 is focused on getting the help so many people still need in Puerto Rico.
Molina had hoped he could be in Boston on Wednesday at Fenway Park to receive his Roberto Clemente Award but was in Colombia with the island’s U-23 team. He manages the team and therefore his wife Wanda was on-hand at Fenway to receive the award for her husband.
Molina told reporters that some bad memories would come back as Boston beat the Cardinals twice in the World Series, but he was happy for Alex Cora and Ramon Vazquez as the two have done so well this season. He added he was very happy for Christian Vazquez as well as the Dodgers’ Kike Hernandez.
Molina has been an All-Star nine times and won the Gold Glove eight times and like Clemente has played his entire career with just one team.
Last year’s recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award was Anthony Rizzo the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs who is a cancer survivor and has a foundation that supports children who are fighting cancer.