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October 20, 2011

Phil Caruso

Vera Clemente

Al Leiter

David Ortiz

Allan H. "Bud" Selig

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: Roberto Clemente Award

AL LEITER: Hello, everyone. I'm Al Leiter, I'm an analyst with MLB Network, and welcome to the announcement of the winner of the 201010 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Before I proceed, Lou Brock, who is also a previous recipient of the award, that every player who's been in the Big Leagues knows this award and values it as high as any award given.
As a past recipient myself of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2000, I'd personally like to thank you for being here and welcome you. For another prestigious member of this great legacy of Major Leaguers who best represent the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field. The award pays tribute to the Roberto Clemente legacy, achievements talented current players who truly understand the value of helping others.
We're going to hear from several people who are instrumental in making this award presentation as special as it is, and it is my honor to first introduce MLB Goodwill Ambassador and the wife of the late Roberto Clemente, Vera Clemente. (Applause).
VERA CLEMENTE: Good evening. It is a pleasure and honor for me to be here, and I want to congratulate Mr. Al Leiter, because he is a recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award a few years ago.
AL LEITER: Thank you.
VERA CLEMENTE: I am very proud to be here because this award means a lot to us, since Roberto was an outstanding baseball player and an outstanding human being. Every year we are honoring these players that deserve this award, that they are the same kind of quality of person and baseball player. Okay, thank you.
AL LEITER: Before we go on to Mr. Selig and also the winner, David Ortiz, I'd like to thank Phil Caruso, who's here, National Promotions Manager from Chicago.
PHIL CARUSO: Thank you, Al. I'd first like to thank the Clemente family and Major League Baseball for letting Chevrolet participate in this very prestigious award. Over the past five years, I hope we have helped amplify the importance of this award and helped to carry on the legacy of Roberto Clemente.
During our partnership we have contributed over $1.5 million to charitable organizations across the country. Recently we invited baseball fans across the country to actually participate in the voting process, and I'm pleased to say that we had over a million fans that actually engaged.
This is just another way that we are helping bring further attention to these great athletes and their efforts that they do in their communities. In addition to our donation, we are pleased to contribute a brand new Chevrolet to the winner's charity of choice. We are also pleased to once again make a donation to the Roberto Clemente Sports City in Puerto Rico. So once again, thank you to the Clemente family and to Major League Baseball, and congratulations to this year's winner.
AL LEITER: Now please welcome the baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Thank you, Al. Good evening, everybody. I, too, am honored to be here today to present the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet, and I thank you, Phil, for your participation in this. I want to also thank Vera Clemente for continuing the legacy of her late husband Roberto by being an outstanding ambassador for Major League Baseball. You've been wonderful, and we thank you for that.
Roberto Clemente was truly one of the most gifted players in baseball history, a great player in every way. But he was also a shining example for all of baseball with his humanitarian efforts and how he carried himself on the baseball field, and more importantly, today, off the field. Since 1973, we have presented this distinguished award bearing his name to an active player in Major League Baseball who best exemplifies his spirit in helping others. The list of winners who have received this award include baseball legends such as Willie Mays, Cal Ripken, Jr., Tony Gwynn, Al Kaline, Ozzie Smith, and of course Al Leiter. That's the last gratuitous compliment I pay him.
AL LEITER: I'll take it.
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: We can now add David Ortiz to that distinguished list. In addition to amassing over 400 home runs in his marvelous career, he's been an All-Star in the community for a long time. His efforts over the years to support and provide relief for children in the United States, the Dominican Republic and Haiti have been vast and wide ranging. In 2005, he visited children who received life-saving heart care operations in the Dominican Republic, and from this experience he was inspired. Soon after he created the David Ortiz Children's Fund, which has raised million dollars of dollars to help provide children in the Dominican Republic and the United States access to the critical pediatric care they need to live full and productive lives.
David's many accomplishments helping children in need have been really, really extraordinary. I know, David, that Roberto Clemente would be very proud of you and the efforts that you've made. Congratulations, David, on being named the winner of the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Thank you for all you've done for us. (Applause).
DAVID ORTIZ: I thought I was going to get away without saying anything. (Laughter).
I just want to thank you, Commissioner, for always letting us know how to do the right thing. I want to thank you, Mr. Roberto Clemente and his family, for all the great memories and all the good things that through history have come to be a reality and put us in a situation that we'd better follow up all the good things on and off the field that can help people, children, and get them a better life.
I wasn't expecting this. When I first heard about getting this award, I was like, me? Really? I told a few people, I was watching a video of my friends, my really good friends, Albert Pujols, what he does for his foundation. At the beginning of the season I saw it on the internet, and I called him right after I was watching this video, and that was at the beginning of the season. He was going through some tough times, and we were talking for a while. And at the end of the conversation, I told him, "Hey, I don't care if you hit .100 this year. To me you are a great human being because everything that you do for people. I'm glad you're keeping up with that and then keeping up with what we're doing on the field. I think a lot of people are going to be proud of yourself, what you're doing."
So on my way here, I was looking at the list and I saw my boy Pujols, and I said, did I beat Pujols? (Laughing). Like I say, it's a great honor for me to be part of this award, being mentioned with Roberto Clemente. I think all of us are here for a reason. We always get put in situations. It's not just for us to be successful, it's for us to open our hands and help somebody else. And I think every single Major League Baseball player in the Big Leagues should try to help somebody else because we all have somebody that we need to look out for.
Thank you. (Applause).

Q. David, you're obviously the second Red Sox in a row to have won the award. Tim Wakefield last year. Did you talk to Tim about his efforts last year, what he did with his charity, and discuss that with him?
DAVID ORTIZ: Actually, no. What I do, I never like to be putting attention to being recognized because I guess when we do things like the one that we do off the field, you're more focusing in on making sure that the help that you bring to the people who need it, you can collect the most you can, in my situation, so many kids. In my situation we have a huge list of kids that they are waiting to get the heart surgery, like we normally do. I get caught sometimes in a situation when we are collecting the money that we raise for them, I just get caught talking to the group that works with me about trying to make it bigger, that way we can raise more money and we can have more kids coming in to get their heart the right way.
I never think about being honored. It's not something that I ever think of. But once you see MLB, the Commissioner, the Clemente family approaching you with a beautiful trophy like this for the things that we do, that's something that motivates you to try to do things better so you can help more people out.

Q. You seem very moved by winning this award. I'm wondering, the Red Sox had a very difficult finish to their season. You played very well individually. Had another fine year. But it was a difficult season for the Red Sox, and subsequently some more things have happened. I'm wondering if this award kind of makes up for that and you feel good about the year in total now that you've won this honor.
DAVID ORTIZ: Well, I think when it comes down to something like this, it can get a little disconnected with everything that happened with us during the season. When it comes down to this, it comes down to doing things worldwide, things that get people in the mood to help out each other, to make this world better. So I think a lot of people in New England are happy about seeing things like this, and they're going to be motivated to help the foundation and things like that.
New England is a great town, that is good when it comes to helping the foundation. We've got The Jimmy Fund out there. Everybody knows how big it is, and everyone knows how much help the Jimmy Fund receives from everything else.
AL LEITER: Thank you again for coming.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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