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October 28, 2001

Vera Clemente

David d'Alesandro

Curt Schilling

Allan H. "Bud" Selig


THE MODERATOR: Thank you for being here this afternoon, for the presentation of the John Hancock Roberto Clemente Award. Each year the Award is given to a player who exemplifies Roberto Clemente himself, who has tremendous ability on the field and even a greater sense of community service and charitable involvement. Each year there is a winner on each of the Major League teams, 30 in all, and all of those winners go before a blue ribbon panel and there is one national winner decided on the Clemente Award. And obviously, today you can see that it is Curt Schilling. Curt Schilling, obviously for the people here in Arizona that do know him and about his involvement, I don't know if I can say anything more clearly than his involvement in the ALS Foundation, both in Baltimore, in Philadelphia and here has been so great that he named his oldest son Gehrig. I don't know if you need to say anything more about that. I'd like you to help me welcome the panel here, Mrs. Vera Clemente of course, obviously after last night Curt Schilling needs no introduction, Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, and David D'Alessandro, who is the chief financial officer of John Hancock Financial Services. John Hancock is one of the most important sponsors of baseball and the sponsor of this award itself. Please help me, and once again, I'll introduce Bud Selig. Bud?

BUD SELIG: It is a pleasure to be here today. We began giving this Award out since 1970 and we named it the Roberto Clemente Award in 1973, and I guess from my perspective, and many of you who cover baseball, may understand how strong I feel about baseball being a social institution with a lot of social responsibility. Given our history, I can't imagine an award being more appropriately named after anybody than Roberto Clemente. He gave of himself and did things that were more than heroic. We have been very fortunate, last year's winner was Al Leiter, Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Cal Ripken, Jr., Kirby Puckett, Sammy Sosa and Tony Gwynn. Curt Schilling has been -- I know that Curt has given, Curt and his wife have given not only a lot of their time, but a lot of money in the fight against ALS, here and in Philadelphia, and to me, even putting the remarkable, remarkable season that he has had on the field, I can't tell you how much I appreciate what he and his wife have done and will continue to do. So, Curt, I must tell you, I don't think baseball has ever had a more deserving winner of this great award and I thank you for all of your time.

CURT SCHILLING: Thank you. (Applause).

THE MODERATOR: We should also recognize, right here in the front row, Curt's wife, Shonda, and the Clemente family, Roberto Jr. and Luis. There is no greater legacy to Roberto Clemente than his family. They have been just outstanding citizens and have made this award what it is. At this point now, I'd like to have Vera Clemente say something.

VERA CLEMENTE: On behalf of the Clemente family, congratulations to Curt Schilling for being selected as the winner of the 2001 John Hancock Award Recepient dedicated to fight ALS, and I know Roberto will be very proud to know that such a fierce competitor on the field is such a caring human being off the field was to receive the award. Our family wishes Curt and Shonda all the best, in their continued efforts in supporting the ALS. Congratulations.

CURT SCHILLING: Thank you. (Applause).

THE MODERATOR: As I mentioned, John Hancock one of the greatest sponsors for baseball, and David D'Alessandro is here representing John Hancock and all of the money that is donated on a local level from every team and national level from Major League Baseball is a great deal.

DAVID D'ALESANDRO: We would just like to say that we are honored to have been asked to sponsor this award, and I've learned a great deal about baseball and it's community sponsors the last few years and sponsors in other professional sports. We are most honored to be associated with the Roberto Clemente Award and this year's winner, Curt Schilling. (Applause).

BUD SELIG: On behalf of John Hancock and Major League Baseball, it is our pleasure to present to you the Roberto Clemente Award for all that you have done.

CURT SCHILLING: Thank you. Wow. First off, I'd like to start this thank you by thanking the big guy upstairs, who with none of this would be possible. And a close second would be the beautiful blonde in the front row over here, my wife. Honest to God, I could split it in half and still only be taking about 49 percent more than I deserve of this award. She is the guiding light in my life and the reason I am who I am and what I am today, and I could not think of any other woman in this world who I would want to be the mother of my children or my wife. Thank you to the people of John Hancock and to the Clemente family. I will tell you three quick stories, if I've ever told a quick story about why this award means more than anything that I have ever received or ever will receive as a baseball player. First and foremost, my father was born in Sommerset, Pennsylvania. I was born a Pirate fan and I was born a Steeler fan. I grew up in the 70s, a Steeler family with Pops and Manny Sanguillen and the Bucks. My first game that I ever saw professionally was Roberto Clemente's final game where he got his 3,000th hit, and the only time I ever saw my father cry in my lifetime was the day Roberto died. The things that my father passed on to me about Mr. Clemente as a person meant more to me than his Hall of Fame status as a ballplayer, and I cannot tell you what an honor this is. Ten years ago, I sat with my wife and we watched TV, and again, my right hand to God, this is a true story. I looked at my wife when they were handing out the Clemente Award at the World Series and I said to her, "If I play long enough and I stay healthy enough, that's the one award I want to win before I'm done playing." Because to win that award, it will not matter how many wins or strikeouts I have, I will have made a difference in peoples' lives. It will have meant that I did something that the time allotted me on this pedestal that had a positive impact on other peoples' lives. I would like to think that my father and Mr. Clemente who are sitting in heaven right now with a pretty good smile on their face, and my father is asking a lot of obnoxious questions. (Laughter.) One last thing, I'm a very avid collector of baseball memorabilia and my two most prized possessions in this world are a Lou Gehrig jersey from the 1927 World Series and his hat, and alongside that a bat from Roberto Clemente which he signed to Hall of Fame umpire Al Bartlet. And so I hope that gives you a little insight to how much this actually means to my family and myself, and nothing that I will ever do in my lifetime as a baseball player will ever top today and the meaning of this award. I thank you all and God bless. (Applause).

BUD SELIG: Any questions or comments?

Q. Curt, is there a particular point that you can point to in your career when it became clear to you, you and your wife, that this was not just about throwing the baseball?

CURT SCHILLING: Yeah. Early in the '92 season when I became a Philadelphia Phillie, I was asked to meet with Alton Phillips (ph) who was president of the Philadelphia ALS Chapter and I met a patient, a kid named Bergeron (ph) who had just been diagnosed recently with ALS. And the correlation in our lives was I had just started to learn how to golf and he had just stopped being able to go golfing because of the disease. At that time of my life, I was very young and I was beginning to make what anybody would consider a large amount of money, and I talked with my wife, and we started "Curt's Pitch for ALS," which is a fan-based program which we have run for ten years in Philadelphia and we now run it in Arizona. People can call the local chapters in either city to become part of that program, and I'm sure Ellen would be glad to pass out numbers. But at that moment, we decided to make a difference in other peoples' lives, and the first thing that she said to me had a profound impact was that we didn't want to stamp our names on something and walk away; we became involved. And our dearest friends, are people that are affected and afflicted with ALS, families. It's not a single person's disease; it's a family's disease and a disease right now that is 100% fatal. And my son's name is Gehrig because when we walk into places, so he is associated, his name -- whatever people associate at some point in time, they understand what Lou Gehrig's disease is; and hopefully one day people will look at my son and remember the greatest baseball that player that ever lived, and not this fatal disease. If we can do that before I am done playing, then we will have made our stay worth it.

End of FastScripts....

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