Last Autumn while the President of the United States was throwing rolls of paper towels to residents of hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican born rapper Pitbull was using hs private plane to ferry patients to Miami for medical treatments. But St. Louis Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina spent two weeks out walking the streets of his native land personally handing out supplies, clearing debris, and helping to repair and rebuild homes. He also raised $800,000 to help aid the recovery efforts.
Speaking on what he saw when he first arrived in Puerto Rico, Yadi said, “I never thought or pictured in my mind that when I would arrive there in Puerto Rico that I would see something like that. As soon as we landed, we saw all the destruction. It was crazy. There were no mountains. There were no trees there. There was no power. They needed so much help. I was in shock.”
And he plans on returning to his homeland to continue helping his homeland to continue working on helping the island recover from being hit by two major hurricane in less a month in the summer of 2017.
While Yadi has been supporting a variety of causes through his Foundation 4 charity, this marked the first time that Yadi himself took a hands on participation in a charitable event.
As a result of his actions, the Cardinals nominated Yadi for the Roberto Clemente Award – formerly the Commissioner’s Award, the award is presented to the Major League Baseball player who demonstrates philanthropic and community endeavours outside of baseball.
Clemente was killed in 1973 when the plane he was on filled with supplies for Nicaragua ravaged by an earthquake crashed.
The Goodwill Ambassador for MLB, Clemente’s widow Vera is one of the panel members responsible for naming the winner of the award that bear’s her husband’s name.
To Yadi, Clemente was an Idol to be emulated, not just for his dedication to the game, but for his efforts outside of baseball. As a child, a photograph of Roberto Clemente was featured prominently in the Molina’s Puerto Rican home.
On October 24, Major League Baseball named Yadier Molina as the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award winner.
Yadi is only the third Puerto Rican born baseball player to win the award; along with Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. Born in New York of Puerto Rican heritage, Edgar Martinez has also won the award.
Speaking on the honour, Yadi said, “this is a great honour or me and my family. We didn’t do any [of our work] thinking about this award, but receiving this award makes us proud of all we did down there in Puerto Rico.”