ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Major League Baseball has announced its 2022 nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award and Tampa Bay's Brandon Lowe, along with St. Petersburg native Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays have been recognized.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Capital One is the annual recognition of a major league player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Throughout his major league career, Lowe has established himself as a leader on the field and throughout the community. In 2019, Lowe created his “Home Runs for Hope” campaign in support of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. After tragically losing a family member to suicide, Brandon wanted to use his platform to destigmatize and bring awareness to mental health.
Since 2019, for every home run that he has hit, Lowe and the Rays Baseball Foundation each donate $100 to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. To date, the Home Runs for Hope campaign has raised over $15,000 for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
Lowe and his wife, Madison, a former collegiate softball player, are passionate about inspiring youth to play baseball and softball. Since the creation of the Lowe’s Legends program in 2019, Brandon and Madison have provided special experiences and financial support to Tampa Bay area youth baseball and softball teams each season. The special experiences provide children with opportunities that they otherwise would not have, including participating in a Lowe’s Legends camp at Tropicana Field, attending Rays games and meeting Brandon.
His program provides support for registration fees and equipment, allowing children whose families were hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic the opportunity to play ball.
Brandon and Madison have selected the Baby Quest Foundation as their charity of choice to receive the $7,500 Roberto Clemente Award donation. The Rays will celebrate Roberto Clemente Day presented by Capital One and recognize Brandon and his philanthropic efforts in a pregame ceremony prior to the game on Friday, Sept. 16.
As for Bo Bichette, during recent offseasons at his home in St. Pete, he served his community at a local shelter on a weekly basis. During this time, Bichette would serve food, water, clothing, toiletries, shoes and blankets to the homeless population. This program relies heavily on the consistency of its volunteers so that the volunteers can build relationships and trust with those in need with the goal of helping them get out of the shelters and get back on their feet.
In addition to volunteering at the shelter in his hometown, Bichette also has close ties with various schools in St. Petersburg, especially his former high school, Lakewood High School. While playing in Dunedin, Bichette hosted 50 current students and staff members from Lakewood High to a Toronto Blue Jays home game in Dunedin, Fla. Bichette provided the group with backpacks full of Blue Jays gear and also joined the group for a pregame chat to discuss the importance of being a good teammate, working hard, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The students were left inspired to pursue their education and work hard after hearing motivating words from Bichette who once walked the same halls as they do now.
For the second year in a row, Bichette sponsored a baseball-focused camp for 500+ children through PG Cares. Bichette enjoys promoting the game of baseball to youth and was excited to be a part of a program that allowed him to help young athletes and inspire them to be the best they can be. This full day of camp included transportation to the venue for all campers, food from a local restaurant, a full day of baseball instruction and backpacks full of baseball-related items that would encourage kids to continue to enjoy the game.
With his ongoing support of youth baseball, Bichette furthered his community involvement by sponsoring a kids baseball camp and back-to-school shoe giveaway to 300 kids enrolled in the various Recreation Centers in south St. Petersburg. With the help of many neighbors and friends and local businesses, and with the support of the City of St Pete, kids were introduced to baseball drills and concepts, provided with lunch and received a backpack full of a healthy after-camp snack and a pair of shoes for the upcoming school year.
Every year, each team nominates a player to be considered for the award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. Thursday, Sept. 15, marks the 21st annual Roberto Clemente Day presented by Capital One, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially acknowledge local club nominees. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Clemente, who tragically died on New Year’s Eve 1972 while embarking on a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Several Rays players and coaches, including Lowe, will honor Clemente by wearing “21” on their uniforms during the league-wide celebration next Thursday, in addition to all major league players and coaches having a special “21” patch on their uniform sleeves.
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Capital One will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including Commissioner Rob Manfred, representatives from Capital One, MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS), MLB.com, as well as Roberto’s children, Enrique, Luis and Roberto Clemente, Jr. Beginning Thursday, fans can vote here for English and here for Spanish Spanish. The site will feature biographies of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel.
The concept of honoring players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” The recognition was renamed the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 in tribute to Clemente following his passing.