The Minnesota Twins have nominated designated hitter Nelson Cruz for the Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball’s annual recognition of the player who best represents baseball on and off the field.
Cruz, a six-time all-star in his second season in Minnesota, leads the Twins with a .326 batting average and 29 RBIs, and is tied with three other players with a major league-leading 13 home runs. Off the field, he has supported several organizations — including his own initiative, Boomstick23 Foundation — to empower people in situations of social vulnerability and using sports and education to help kids reach their potential.
In his native Dominican Republic, Cruz has donated a fire truck, ambulance and police motorcycle, and built a police station, in his hometown of Las Matas De Santa. Among myriad other projects, Cruz has supplied equipment for the elderly and disabled in the Dominican, supported infant care in Venezuela and engaged with Twin Cities youth.
Cruz, 40, will be honored prior to the Twins’ Sept. 11 home game against Cleveland as part of MLB’s annual celebration of Clemente, the former Pittsburgh Pirates all-star who was killed in a plane crash while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.
Cruz won the 2020 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, and last season was given the Carl R. Pohlad Award for Twins Outstanding Community Service.