Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.
– Roberto Clemente
Children everywhere dream of becoming a baseball player, from the moment they pick up their first bat, their first baseball, or their first glove. As they get older, they all make the same promise:
When I made it to the big leagues that I would take care of the people who took care of me when I was young.
Many of today’s players do exactly that. Carlos Delgado, Albert Pujols and David Wright are names synonymous with charity work.
Yet there is one player we never hear about when it comes to doing just that: Johan Santana.
This year Santana has been nominated for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.
Roberto Clemente was a man who believed in charity work. While he loved playing baseball in Puerto Rico and in the majors, his real mission was to help those less fortunate than himself.
This selfless attitude is what eventually brought him to his death.
On December 31, 1972, while flying a plane with emergency supplies to those who were affected by the earthquake in Nicaragua, his plane crashed. The supplies were never delivered and Clemente lost his life.
Yet his legacy lives on through this award. Many players, including Delgado and Pujols, have been nominated over the years since it was changed from the Commissioner’s Award to the Roberto Clemente Award back in 1973.
It is an award that honors those “best exemplifies the values of the game, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”.
Santana has done many charitable things in his home country of Venezuela. He has built hospitals, schools, and sports facilities. In 2005, he started his own charity foundation: The Johan Santana Foundation to support baseball for the children.
You may think it is easy to give back, but sadly not everyone does when they make it big. Some become self absorbed and only see the money. It is nice to know there are people out there who remember those who have nothing.
Felicidades Santana! You make all Hispanics and Mets fans everywhere very proud.
You can vote for Santana here and also view a video about the Roberto Clemente Award.