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St. Louis' Pujols wins Roberto Clemente Award


St. Louis' Pujols wins Roberto Clemente Award
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Albert Pujols has an MVP award and a World Series ring.

What the St. Louis slugger really wants is to be remembered for his charity work.

He was on Saturday when he was presented with the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a major league player who combines community service with excellence on the field.

"It doesn't matter what you do on the field, it's what you do off the field and the lives you touch," Pujols said.

Nominated for the fifth time in six years, Pujols received the award in a ceremony at Citizens Bank Park before Game 3 of the World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies. He was selected from 30 nominees, one from each major league team, by a committee that included commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, Roberto's widow.

Selig called the award baseball's "symbol of our social awareness."

Pujols was honored for his work with the Pujols Family Foundation, which helps the lives of children and young adults with Down syndrome. The foundation has helped more than 500 families affected by Down syndrome in the St. Louis area, with various programs and fundraising events.

He also supports other organizations and causes, including the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Ronald McDonald House.

Pujols has a daughter who was born with Down syndrome, one reason he strives to be a role model for kids.

"At the end of the day, I want to make sure I serve others," he said.

He joins a list of Roberto Clemente Award winners that has 13 Hall of Famers, including Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith. Retired Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio won the award last year.

Phillies Game 3 starter Jamie Moyer won the award in 2003.

Clemente was a Hall of Fame right fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while trying to deliver relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits.

Vera Clemente said she knew Roberto would feel proud of the charity work carried on by players like Pujols.

"Everybody on this day remembers Roberto Clemente as a great baseball player," Pujols said. "But we remember him as a great man who loved other people and gave back to the community."

Pujols was honored Friday as the Player of the Year in a vote of major leaguers conducted by the players' union. Texas shortstop Michael Young won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award. The Major League Baseball Players Trust will donate $50,000 each to the charities of their choice.

Pujols hit .357 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs for the Cardinals this season even though he played with an irritated nerve in his right elbow.

Pujols, the 2005 NL MVP, had surgery earlier this month to relieve the nerve irritation in his right elbow, which had led to numbness, tingling in his ring finger and pinkie, weakness in his grip and pain along the inside of the forearm.

He is expected to be ready for spring training.

Pujols said doctors told him 70 percent of the pain and swelling in the elbow was caused by the nerve.

Pujols' numbers make him the frontrunner to win another MVP award. With Clemente's widow at his side, and their children in attendance, Pujols wanted to delay talk about what another MVP might mean. He wanted to focus on Clemente and his enduring legacy on the game.

"It takes a lot of hard work, but it comes from the heart," Pujols said.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 26, 2008

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