Roberto Clemente Day & Award Nominees 2022

min read
Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Roberto Clemente is seen, March 1968.
(AP Photo)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Sep 14, 2022, 1:09 AM
  • Roberto Clemente Day falls on Sept. 15, 2022.
  • Nominees for the annual Roberto Clemente Award are announced prior to this day.
  • The award recognizes a player’s philanthropic efforts and community involvement.
  • The Roberto Clemente Award winner is announced at the World Series.

There are many ways an MLB player can leave his mark on the sport, but for some, their impact extends beyond the game. 

In September of each year, Major League Baseball takes a moment away from World Series odds and baseball standings to honor Roberto Clemente’s legacy and recognize sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions, both on and off the field. 

This recognition culminates in the Roberto Clemente Award, with each team nominating one player for the honor and the winner announced at the World Series.

Who Was Roberto Clemente?

For those unfamiliar, Roberto Clemente was a 15-time All-Star who tragically died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve, 1972. At the time of his death, he was attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Clemente played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning the Gold Glove Award in 12 consecutive seasons from 1961 through 1972. 

A two-time World Series champion, Clemente was the first player from the Caribbean and Latin America to win a World Series as a starting position player (1960), receive an NL MVP Award (1966), and win a World Series MVP Award (1971).

Clemente’s stellar career was recognized by his posthumous induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, but his hard work and dedication didn’t end on the field.

During the offseasons, Clemente was involved in charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries, particularly delivering baseball equipment, food, and aid supplies to those in need. 

Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, was affected by a massive earthquake on Dec. 23, 1972, and Clemente arranged emergency relief flights to deliver aid to the area. After the first three flights were diverted by corrupt officials of the Somoza government, with the aid packages never reaching victims of the earthquake, Clemente joined the fourth flight in the hope that he could assist in ensuring it reached its destination.

Immediately after takeoff on Dec. 31, 1972, the plane carrying Clemente and four others crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Isla Verde due to engine failure. There were no survivors, and Clemente’s body was never recovered.

What Is Roberto Clemente Day and the Roberto Clemente Award?

After his death, Major League Baseball established Roberto Clemente Day to honor the right fielder’s incredible legacy. In September of each year, the league reflects on the efforts that players and individuals can make through community involvement and the inspirational life of Roberto Clemente.

In addition to a customized tribute video shown at games, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team Clemente spent his entire 18-year career with, will wear No. 21. All past Roberto Clemente Award winners and this year’s Roberto Clemente Award nominees are also eligible to wear No. 21 jerseys on this day.

On or prior to Roberto Clemente Day, the nominees for the season’s Roberto Clemente Award are announced. Each team nominates one player from their team who they believe represents the game through extraordinary character, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

The winner of the Roberto Clemente Award is announced at the World Series.

2022 Roberto Clemente Award Nominations

Josh RojasArizona Diamondbacks
Tyler MatzekAtlanta Braves
Dillon TateBaltimore Orioles
Jake DiekmanBoston Red Sox
Jason HeywardChicago Cubs
Liam HendriksChicago White Sox
Joey VottoCincinnati Reds
Triston McKenzieCleveland Guardians
Kyle FreelandColorado Rockies
Miguel CabreraDetroit Tigers
José AltuveHouston Astros
Nicky LopezKansas City Royals
Jared WalshLos Angeles Angels
Justin TurnerLos Angeles Dodgers
Pablo LópezMiami Marlins
Brent SuterMilwaukee Brewers
Byron BuxtonMinnesota Twins
James McCannNew York Mets
Jose TrevinoNew York Yankees
Tony KempOakland Athletics
Kyle GibsonPhiladelphia Phillies
David BednarPittsburgh Pirates
Craig StammenSan Diego Padres
Brandon CrawfordSan Francisco Giants
Marco GonzalesSeattle Mariners
Paul GoldschmidtSt. Louis Cardinals
Brandon LoweTampa Bay Rays
Taylor HearnTexas Rangers
Bo BichetteToronto Blue Jays
Josh BellWashington Nationals

Which Players Have Won the Roberto Clemente Award?

1971Willie MaysSan Francisco Giants
1972Brooks RobinsonBaltimore Orioles
1973Al KalineDetroit Tigers
1974Willie StargellPittsburgh Pirates
1975Lou BrockSt. Louis Cardinals
1976Pete RoseCincinnati Reds
1977Rod CarewMinnesota Twins
1978Greg LuzinskiPhiladelphia Phillies
1979Andre ThorntonCleveland Indians
1980Phil NiekroAtlanta Braves
1981Steve GarveyLos Angeles Dodgers
1982Ken SingletonBaltimore Orioles
1983Cecil CooperMilwaukee Brewers
1984Ron GuidryNew York Yankees
1985Don BaylorNew York Yankees
1986Garry MaddoxPhiladelphia Phillies
1987Rick SutcliffeChicago Cubs
1988Dale MurphyAtlanta Braves
1989Gary CarterNew York Mets
1990Dave StewartOakland Athletics
1991Harold ReynoldsSeattle Mariners
1992Cal Ripken Jr.Baltimore Orioles
1993Barry LarkinCincinnati Reds
1994Dave WinfieldMinnesota Twins
1995Ozzie SmithSt. Louis Cardinals
1996Kirby PuckettMinnesota Twins
1997Eric DavisBaltimore Orioles
1998Sammy SosaChicago Cubs
1999Tony GwynnSan Diego Padres
2000Al LeiterNew York Mets
2001Curt SchillingArizona Diamondbacks
2002Jim ThorneCleveland Indians
2003Jamie MoyerSeattle Mariners
2004Edgar MartínezSeattle Mariners
2005John SmoltzAtlanta Braves
2006Carlos DelgadoNew York Mets
2007Craig BiggioHouston Astros
2008Albert PujolsSt. Louis Cardinals
2009Derek JeterNew York Yankees
2010Tim WakefieldBoston Red Sox
2011David OrtizBoston Red Sox
2012Clayton KershawLos Angeles Dodgers
2013Carlos BeltránSt. Louis Cardinals
2014Paul KonerkoChicago White Sox
2014Jimmy RollinsPhiladelphia Phillies
2015Andrew McCutchenPittsburgh Pirates
2016Curtis GrandersonNew York Mets
2017Anthony RizzoChicago Cubs
2018Yadier MolinaSt. Louis Cardinals
2019Carlos CarrascoCleveland Indians
2020Adam WainwrightSt. Louis Cardinals
2021Nelson CruzTampa Bay Rays/Minnesota Twins
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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.