|Pujols Family Foundation : Roberto Clemente Award
Bigger Than The Game
If you ever have the privilege of visiting the home of Albert and Deidre Pujols there are a few things that are certain. The first is that Deidre will offer you something wonderful to taste from her kitchen. The second is that Albert will show you his award.
Keep in mind, Albert Pujols has amassed almost every award and trophy Major League Baseball has to offer and he has each one displayed in a marvelous trophy case in his home. However, across the room, centered on his mantle is one single award, separated and set apart from the rest. It is the single award that he holds as his greatest accomplishment - above his Rookie of the Year, Hank Aaron, Silver Sluggers and three MVP awards.
The 2008 Roberto Clemente Award.
During the 2008 World Series in Philadelphia, St Louis Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols was given the Roberto Clemente Award for his work through the Pujols Family Foundation.
This award is given to the player who combines outstanding performance on the field and work in the community. It is named in honor of Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder, Roberto Clemente, who died on Dec 31, 1972, during a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Albert Pujols has had another stellar year with the St. Louis Cardinals. However, it is his extensive and dedicated off-field efforts that have earned him this year's Roberto Clemente Award. Through the Pujols Family Foundation, Albert has been able to improve the lives of children and young adults with Down syndrome in the greater St. Louis area, as well as provide much-needed support to underprivileged children in his home of the Dominican Republic.
He also sets time aside to support other organizations and causes, including the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Ronald McDonald House. I would also like to thank our partner Chevy, whose generous financial support of this award is instrumental in continuing the legacy of Roberto Clemente," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said during the presentation.
On the field, the Cardinals first baseman hit 37 homers, drove in 116 runs and batted .357.
"[This is] a blessing, and I'm really honored," Pujols said. "First of all, I want to thank God to give me the opportunity to be here tonight and receive this award. I want to thank Major League Baseball and Chevy to be a part of this great award of Roberto Clemente. I want to thank my teammates, obviously, for the support that they give me during the year -- every event that we do for Down syndrome or golf tournament -- the fans in St. Louis and all over the United States and the Dominican Republic for the support that they give to the Pujols Family Foundation. I want to thank the Roberto Clemente family. I'm truly honored to receive this award. It's an honor to be here."
"It takes a lot of hard work for the Pujols Family Foundation, but it comes from our heart. I thank God every day for the opportunity he gives me to be in the big leagues and just take advantage of every little opportunity. I remember as a little boy in the Dominican Republic, all I want is to be in the big leagues. All I wanted was just to be a professional baseball player. I never thought this dream was going to come true and so quick in eight years."
"[Clemente] was not only a great baseball player -- everybody on this day remembers Roberto Clemente as a great baseball player, but we today remember him as a great man that loved other people and gave back to the community, whether in Pittsburgh or Nicaragua or Latin America or Puerto Rico. And I feel that's my responsibility, too, not just to be a baseball player, but to give back to others, whether in St. Louis or the United States or back in the Dominican Republic every year with our trip through the Pujols Family Foundation."
"At the end of the day, when all is said and done playing this game ... it doesn't matter what you did in the field, it's what you do off the field and the lives that you touch off the field. And I try to do that through our Foundation. I try to do that when I go back to the Dominican Republic.”
Albert has since been asked, “If you could ask Roberto Clemente one question, what would it be?”
Without hesitation Albert retorted, “Why did you go? Why did you get on that plane to serve those people in Nicaragua who you did not know and had never met?”
“I would ask him that question, because I know what he would say; ‘Because it was my responsibility’. I feel the same way. It is my responsibility”.
Today, sitting alone in a place of honor, centered over the fireplace in the Pujols’ home is a constant reminder that some things in life are bigger than the game, bigger than ourselves. Some things are worth living for and even dying for.
Most things we do out of want. Some things we do out of need and very few we do out of responsibility.
Those are the things that last.