Few recipients have had a connection to the Roberto Clemente Award as personal as Carlos Delgado. Carlos was born in Clemente’s homeland of Puerto Rico just six months before the iconic ballplayer and humanitarian died in a plane crash while on an aid mission. Like many Puerto Rican boys growing up in the shadow of their hero’s tragic death, Carlos chose to wear Clemente’s number 21 jersey whenever he could. Unlike many of those same boys, Carlos was able to follow Clemente’s path further, both to the major leagues and to humanitarianism. A two-time All-Star, Carlos has racked up more than 1,700 hits, 400 home runs and 1,300 RBIs in his 15-year major league career. Perhaps most impressive, Carlos has raised more than $1 million for Extra Bases, the foundation he founded five years ago to improve the lives of children in his native Puerto Rico. Carlos has donated $500,000 of his own money to the foundation and raised the rest of the funds through sales of “Follow your Dreams” wristbands and corporate contributions for each home run he hits. His 38 homers in 2006 produced $91,200. Extra Bases benefits hundreds of homeless, underprivileged and handicapped Puerto Rican children with an annual pre-Thanksgiving feast and gifts at Christmas time. Carlos has also sponsored college scholarships and rewarded top Puerto Rican students with trips to New York. In the future, Carlos hopes to expand his philanthropic efforts to help underprivileged children in New York City. Given all of his efforts, it is easy to see that, like his boyhood hero Roberto Clemente, Carlos’ compassion is as boundless as his talent.
Carlos Delgado is the recipient of the 2006 MLB Roberto Clemente Award.