Nelson Cruz wins Roberto Clemente Award

Mary DeCicco / Major League Baseball / Getty

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz is the recipient of the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award, MLB announced Wednesday.

The 41-year-old was recognized for his humanitarian efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic in his home country of the Dominican Republic.

Cruz, who's played in the majors for 17 years, was nominated by the Minnesota Twins for the honor before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in July.

"It's just a privilege and honor," Cruz said, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. "I think I don't have the words to describe how enjoyable these awards are for me and my family. Like I said in the past, we put a lot of work into the community, never thinking to be really recognized. Most players do (it) because we think it's the right thing to do."

The prestigious award was introduced in 1971 and renamed for Clemente two years later following his tragic death. It is given to the player who "best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions both on and off the field."

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Nelson Cruz wins Roberto Clemente Award
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