Wainwright nominated for 2019 Roberto Clemente Award

Adam Wainwright was named the Cardinals' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award on Thursday.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright has long been regarded as one of the most charitable professional athletes in St. Louis, and he’s again been rewarded for that steadfast commitment to the community.

Major League Baseball announced 30 finalists — one from each team — for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award on Thursday, and Wainwright is the Cardinals’ nominee, marking the fourth time that he’s been a finalist for the award. Wainwright will be recognized during an on-field ceremony prior to the Wednesday, September 18th game against the Washington Nationals.

The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

Previous Cardinals to win the award include Yadier Molina (2018), Carlos Beltran (2013), Albert Pujols (2008), Ozzie Smith (1995) and Lou Brock (1975).

“Everything I’ve ever heard about Roberto Clemente was that as great of a player as he was on the field, he was that great of a man and humanitarian off the field,” said Wainwright. “He set the bar for all of us, and I just can’t think of a better compliment than to be nominated for his namesake award.”

Wainwright, with brother Trey, founded Big League Impact (BLI) in 2013 to provide basic needs including food, clean water, medical care and shelter in an effort to restore dignity and hope to those in need across the globe. Wainwright’s first fundraising event was the Waino’s World Fantasy Football Draft. Today, Wainwright works with over two dozen MLB players to bring their charitable aspirations to life through fantasy football drafts, game nights, and Swing for Impact events. Through Wainwright’s leadership, by the end of 2019, $4.5 million will have been raised by 150 players to benefit 60 charities.

This season, Wainwright created the ALL WIN fundraising campaign, with teammates and fans making pledges per win with a $10,000 match by the Cardinals, to provide healthy meals across the St. Louis region and to create an Ag-tech program at Normandy High School.

Additionally, Wainwright and BLI partnered with Garth Brooks and his foundation Teammates for Kids and MLB to create the Home Plate Project, a league-wide initiative to support childhood hunger prevention and battle food insecurity. More than four dozen players donated $300,000 that will provide more than 3.6 million meals to over 25,000 children across the United States and Canada.

The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including  commissioner Rob Manfred, representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB.com, as well as Roberto’s widow, Vera Clemente. Beginning Thursday, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website.

The Roberto Clemente Award was initiated in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” It was renamed in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.