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October 27, 2007

Craig Biggio

Phil Caruso

Vera Clemente

Allan H. "Bud" Selig


MARK PATRICK: I'd first like to thank everyone for coming and joining us here before World Series Game 3 tonight. My name is Mark Patrick. I am the host along with Buck Martinez of XM Satellite Radio. We'd like to begin the activities tonight for the 2007 Roberto Clemente by telling you who's on our dais tonight, and we would like to start out from my left to my right with Vera Clemente (applause), Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (applause), a guy that just happened to be here so we sat him up here, Craig Biggio (applause), and Phil Caruso, who is the national promotion manager for Chevrolet Motor Divisions (applause).
You have hopefully picked up the materials provided by Major League Baseball explaining this award. If you're not familiar with the great Roberto Clemente Award, and not only is it a wonderful award, but it's also one of the most beautiful pieces of hardware that you could ever imagine. And I would urge everyone if they have the opportunity after our press conference tonight to try and get a closer look at that if you have that opportunity. You're also going to have the opportunity later tonight to be able to ask questions of our dais, and we would like to remind you to try and keep your questions in the spirit of the event tonight.
We also would like to acknowledge several guests on behalf of Major League Baseball that are here with us. They have paid incredible amounts of money to sit in the front row (laughter), and they would include Luis Clemente (applause), and Roberto Clemente's other son, Roberto Clemente, Jr., from Major League Baseball Bob DuPuy, Tom Brosnan and Jon McHale (applause). They are, of course, under assignment tonight and under cover. You'll see them hiding various places.
And we would also like to welcome Patty Biggio, the wife of Craig, and his son Conor (applause), and the McLane family, Drayton McLane, the owner of the Houston Astros, and his wife Elizabeth.
We would now like to introduce Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who will make our official announce of the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award winner.
COMMISSIONER SELIG: Thank you very much, and good afternoon. I want to thank all of you for joining us here for this important announcement. The Roberto Clemente Award is one of the baseball's most prestigious awards because it combines excellence on the baseball field with one's important contributions to the community.
Major League Baseball has presented this award annually since 1971, and in 1973 named the award in honor of the great Roberto Clemente, who sacrificed his life on a humanitarian mission to aid earthquake victims in Nicaragua on December 31, 1972. I'm delighted that Vera Clemente, Roberto's wife, and their sons are here today to honor Roberto's legacy as well as this year's honoree. Thank you Vera, Roberto Jr. and Luis. You've really been a help to us in honoring your husband, and your father's memory is a privilege for all of us (applause).
I would also like to thank Chevrolet, the sponsor of the Roberto Clemente Award, and Phil Caruso, who's here today. Thank you very much. We appreciate your great help in all this.
This year's Roberto Clemente Award winner, Craig Biggio, is one of the game's most consistent and versatile players. He has accumulated more than 3,000 hits. He's fifth all-time in doubles. He's played his entire career with the Houston Astros, and one day will make the trip to Cooperstown to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But more importantly, Craig has made important and significant contributions to the community. He is the national spokesperson for the Sunshine Kids Foundation, has raised nearly $2.5 million for this nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping children with cancer. The Sunshine Kids Foundation provides a variety of programs and events for young cancer patients in hospitals across North America.
Craig has also been active in numerous other charitable endeavors and Astros Outreach Programs throughout his magnificent career. He has visited with and welcomed members of many groups to many parties, including the Make a Wish Foundation, hospital and cancer patients, current and former military service personnel, and the Houston Astros hometown heroes, a program that honors outstanding community service and good deeds in the Houston community.
I've often said, if I could just editorialize for a second, that baseball is a social institution, and for those who really are into sport and understand it, we have enormous social responsibilities. I hope all the young players in this sport will watch and follow this man's career because he is what a Major League Baseball player should be, on and off the field.
So Craig, congratulations. All of us in Major League Baseball are proud of you and the good work you've done throughout your career, both on and off the field. You are a well-deserved winner.
CRAIG BIGGIO: Thank you.
MARK PATRICK: It was very cool for me to be sitting here and seeing, and I wish everyone in our audience today was the look on Patty Biggio's face and the look on Conor's face as they were very proud of Craig, and also the looks on the Clemente sons who were also admiring the man that I think has done as good a job as anyone in the history of baseball of emulating what your father did, and I saw that in your faces. Congratulations. It's very nice.
We would like to now speak on behalf of the Clemente family, Vera Clemente, who has a few words to share with us tonight.
VERA CLEMENTE: Good afternoon. My sons and myself, we are very proud to be here this afternoon and to congratulate Craig Biggio for your beautiful career, and especially the work that you and your wife Patty have been doing. I am very impressed when I met both of you. It's like if I met you many years before.
I want to congratulate Mr. Selig and Major League Baseball for all the work that they've been doing with all the players for the Roberto Clemente Award. I think when I have all the information of all the players, you know, it's very impressive. It's very hard to decide because many of them are doing a beautiful job. In this case I have to congratulate you again because I really am touched, especially after I met both of you.
VERA CLEMENTE: I forgot to say thank you to Chevrolet, the sponsor of the Roberto Clemente Award. We are very happy to have your sponsorship. Thank you. (Applause).
MARK PATRICK: There are certain sponsors that are absolutely perfect tie-ins for certain things, and Chevrolet is absolutely the perfect sponsor for baseball. And Chevrolet has become the perfect sponsor now of the Roberto Clemente Award in taking it to a new level, and they have done so not just with their heart but also with large monetary value. And to tell us about Chevrolet's new role is their Director of Promotions Phil Caruso.
PHIL CARUSO: Good evening, everyone. First I'd like to thank Major League Baseball and the Roberto Clemente family for allowing us to participate in this and be associated with this really distinguished award, so we are very honored that we are now part of this award.
With our proud sponsorship of the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award, we are reaffirming Chevrolet's commitment to our shared values of community, family and heritage. Roberto's passion for the game and his humanitarian efforts have inspired not only players but non-fans and fans alike, and we at Chevrolet are committed to broadening the recognition of this award so fans all over the world can witness the dedication of these great competitors like Craig Biggio beyond the field of play.
On behalf of Chevrolet, I would like to congratulate Craig as a recipient of the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award. We all know Craig has risen to greatness on the field, but he has also achieved great heights off the field through his dedication and support of the Sunshine Kids Foundation. As a recipient of this year's award, Chevrolet will donate $30,000 and a brand new 2008 Chevy Silverado in Craig's name to the Sunshine Kids Foundation. In addition to that, Chevrolet will donate $30,000 to the Roberto Clemente Sports City in Puerto Rico to help keep Roberto's dream alive.
I am very proud to congratulate Craig and wish him continued success on and off the field.
CRAIG BIGGIO: I'm very humbled and honored obviously to be this year's recipient. The Roberto Clemente Award -- he was such a magnificent player on the field, and the things that he did on the field, I knew there were a lot of older players, coaches that have been around that said he was a five-tool player and a lot of younger people would go watch him play when they were kids. But I think the biggest part about Roberto is, as great of a player as he was, he was a bigger man on the field in his generosity and his time and giving back to the community.
So to be part of this award and recipient this year, I am very humbled and grateful for this. This is something that as a Major League Baseball player, some of us get the opportunity to have an impact on the community, some have a chance to have a real big impact on certain communities, and I know that I'm very grateful for my 20 years in Houston to be associated with the Sunshine Kids.
The Sunshine Kids are near and dear to my heart and they're one of the reasons that I stayed there and never left as a free agent. But I learned when I was a young boy at 12 years old, I had a paper route, it was a hand-me-down paper route, it went from my brother to my sister to me. I was 12 years old and there was a family on my route that their son came down with leukemia, and as a 12-year-old boy I saw the devastation and how hard it hit the family. I said to myself at that age if I'm ever in a position or spot that I can ever have an impact on a community, I'm going to do my part. I owe it to their son's legacy to adhere to that promise.
Then obviously the Sunshine Kids are something that is an organization that we're not about a cure, we're about families, we're about putting smiles on faces. It's about raising money so a family and a group can go white-water rafting or they can go skiing in Colorado or they can go to Mardi Gras or a Harley Davidson ride in Hill Country, or they come out to Minute Maid Park and I'll pitch to each one of them and feed them and give them a bag. That's what it's about, putting smiles on their faces.
That's why I think for me it's hard to really put in words because I know Roberto Clemente was -- and seeing it in the eyes of their sons and his wife, what a great man he was, and he still is. That's why I'm very humbled and grateful for this honor and to be part of his legacy.
MARK PATRICK: I think I speak on behalf of all baseball fans, Craig, when I think we have the perfect winner this year, and we are saddened to see that you've decided to retire as a player, but to know that your legacy will continue is an incredible thing, and we hope in five years that you will become the 14th former Clemente winner to be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, truly.
CRAIG BIGGIO: Thank you.
MARK PATRICK: Before we take some questions, we know that we have a couple of other items to address tonight, and Commissioner Selig would like to make a statement regarding the Welcome Back Veterans Campaign that Major League Baseball is very much a part of now. Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER SELIG: Thank you very much. Earlier today Major League Baseball Charities in partnership with the Advertising Council launched a national public service advertising campaign entitled "Welcome Back Veterans." The program is designed to raise awareness and encourage all Americans to provide support for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The PSAs would feature a voice-over by Oscar Award winner Tom Hanks will debut tonight during Fox telecast of Game 3 of the World Series. Major League Baseball has a long history of supporting our troops, and for generations baseball has undertaken patriotic activities to acknowledge veterans and current members of the military who served and have served our country. We're proud to be part of Welcome Back Veterans, pleased to have the opportunity to provide invaluable support to the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq and their families and to help these brave men and women make a successful transition to civilian life. Thank you.
MARK PATRICK: We know we have a game to cover, so we'll take a few questions and then all our guests will pose for some photos.

Q. When you win this award, and Vera, as well, and you see that Drayton and Elizabeth McLane are here, in Houston a lot of people don't understand the commitment you make to the community. What does it say to you that an owner is here because usually the owner of the team doesn't show up for this award? Does it mean anything special to you guys?
CRAIG BIGGIO: Well, to me, he is my owner but he is my friend, also. I've known Drayton and Elizabeth for close to 15 years, and Jon McMullen, my first owner, and then Drayton has been an owner of mine for 15 years. He is a friend and he is my boss, and I am very grateful and happy that they are here. Once again, this is a huge day for the Houston Astros family, their fans, and it's just something that -- Roberto Clemente, the man, the name speaks for itself, and to have your name associated with him is very special. It was very nice to be able to do my part as a baseball player on and off the field just like he did.
VERA CLEMENTE: I think it's also very special and beautiful that in a special moment like this that they are here with you. It's very special, very nice. Thank you.

Q. Does it make it any more special that you received this award the year that you retired, the very last year of your career?
CRAIG BIGGIO: I guess it was our last chance (laughter). So thank you. And I know Mrs. Clemente, she had a big say in this, so I want to thank you very much (laughter).
Honestly, I think that community service, it's not something that you try to draw attention to, it's just something that you do, that we have an opportunity to have an impact. Some of us, you know, you get recognized for some of these special, special awards, but I look at it as we're all in this thing together, all Major League Baseball players and everybody tries to do their part to the best that they can. I think it's a fraternity, and I call the baseball family a fraternity, it is great because we raise millions and millions of dollars across the country for different communities across the country, and that is a great thing to be part of.
COMMISSIONER SELIG: I just will say one more time, as a player to be honored with this award in the name of the great Roberto Clemente for everything he's done as a human being is -- I can't imagine a player being honored in a more fitting way or a more fitting person getting this honor.
MARK PATRICK: Commissioner, we're going to give you a test of strength to try and lift this tremendous award. If you and Vera Clemente will now make the official presentation to Craig.
Thank you, everyone, for coming out tonight. We appreciate all your time, and again, congratulations to Craig, and our thanks to the Chevrolet Motor Division.

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