Judge Wins 2023 Clemente Award: 'It's Just The Beginning'

Photo: Instagram/Aaron Judge

In a heartwarming ceremony held before Game 3 of the World Series at Arizona’s Chase Field, New York Yankees captain Aaron Judge was awarded the 2023 Roberto Clemente Award.

This esteemed accolade is presented annually to a Major League player who exemplifies the spirit of baseball through their exceptional character, dedication to the community, philanthropic efforts, and positive contributions on and off the field.

Judge, deeply moved by the honor, expressed his gratitude, saying, "Just being a nominee is an incredible honor that a lot of players look forward to. Now getting a chance to be a Roberto Clemente Award winner, it's tough to describe. The legacy [Clemente] left -- we can sit here and talk about the stats, what he did on the field. He was a generational talent on the field, but he was a generational ambassador for this game off the field."

Photo: Instagram/Aaron Judge

This prestigious award, named in memory of the legendary Roberto Clemente, who was not only a remarkable talent on the field but also a true ambassador for the sport off the field, aims to recognize players who carry forward Clemente's legacy.

Aaron Judge, who looks up to Clemente as a role model, has committed himself to being a complete player, mirroring Clemente's dedication not only in his offensive prowess but also his exceptional defensive skills.

Furthermore, in 2018, Judge established the Aaron Judge ALL RISE Foundation, focusing on inspiring young individuals to become responsible citizens in communities close to his heart, including the Bronx, San Joaquin County (Calif.), and Fresno County (Calif.). The foundation also aims to honor those who positively influence children and create a lasting legacy for future generations. Through its various programs and initiatives, ALL RISE has impacted the lives of over 2,000 young people, encouraging them to reach their full potential.

In 2023, Bridge2College and NYC Autism Charter Schools (NYCACS) received support from ALL RISE through its mini-grant program, which has so far assisted 26 community-based organizations, public and private agencies, and faith-based groups.

Additionally, the Aspiring Leaders program of ALL RISE focuses on leadership, citizenship, character development, and community involvement, offering a pathway for future generations to become responsible citizens in society.

Commissioner Rob Manfred commended Judge's remarkable accomplishments, stating, "Aaron, you are -- like so many of your fellow players -- a real credit to our game."

Aaron Judge's connection to Roberto Clemente runs deep, as he, along with his teammates, had the opportunity to visit the Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh last July. During this visit, he held one of Clemente's game-used bats, leaving a lasting impression. Judge, who typically wields a 35-inch, 33-ounce bat, was astounded by the heft of Clemente's 36-inch, 38-ounce lumber. He even received a replica bat from the museum, which he used during his batting practice the following day.

With this honor, Judge becomes the first Yankee to receive the Clemente Award since Derek Jeter in 2009, joining the ranks of Don Baylor (1985) and Ron Guidry ('84) as Yankees who have been honored with this prestigious recognition.

Judge is resolute in his commitment to making a positive impact, as he stated, "The work that we have accomplished with the help of my family, especially my mom [Patty], and the lives we've touched, it's just the beginning. This is just another step along the way. I'm looking forward to helping more kids along the way."

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Source: MLB


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