Infielder Hanser Alberto is the Orioles’ nominee for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award, which is the annual recognition of a player from each club who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, sportsmanship, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”
First baseman Chris Davis has been the club’s nominee the previous three seasons.
The Orioles Charitable Foundation will match Major League Baseball in donating $7,500 to charities of Alberto’s choosing. The team announced that the $15,000 donation will be split between Fundación Alberto Brito, the Alberto’s family foundation serving its hometown of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic, and a Baltimore-based charitable organization.
Alberto stepped up in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to support his hometown during an unprecedented crisis. San Francisco de Macorís was the center of the Dominican Republic’s pandemic in May and access to the city was completely restricted, but Alberto and his family worked with former Rangers teammates Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos to distribute food, medicine and other essential items to more than 500 families in need.
In order to assist in fighting the pandemic in Baltimore, Alberto has recorded essential public health announcements for the Maryland Department of Health in both English and Spanish.
Alberto participated in the Game of Legends in Santo Domingo during the offseason, an annual charity exhibition and home run derby featuring current and former Dominican players to benefit the St. Jude Foundation. He also visited the Hospital Infantil Regional Universitario to donate holiday gifts to patients, providing toys for over 500 children.
The first Birdland Caravan also included Alberto, who visited Fort Meade - Maryland’s largest military base - with executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.
All of this after becoming an established major league player during the summer, starting for the Orioles at second or third base and batting .398/.414/.534 against left-handed pitchers. He’s appeared in 33 games this season, missing the last two with a sore knee, and slashed .321/.342/.450.
Alberto has recorded instructional training videos to engage with young athletes through the Orioles Digital Kids Corner and regularly participates in the club’s year-round community initiatives.
The infielder learned of his nomination from manager Brandon Hyde, who made the on-field announcement before batting practice at Camden Yards. The moment is captured on the team’s Twitter account.
Hyde paused while teammates applauded and then read the lengthy list of reasons why Alberto is the choice.
Jennifer Grondahl, the Orioles’ senior vice president of community development and communications, informed Alberto that the nomination is accompanied by the $7,500 donation and the Orioles are matching it.
“We’re really proud of you, on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community,” she said.
“Thank you, fellas, for the support,” Alberto said after another round of applause. “I know some of the stuff that I take home is stuff from you guys and my ex-teammates. And that’s why we’re here, you know, to help each other. Some of us in the Dominican, we grow up with nothing, so now we’ve got the opportunity to have everything, so it’s good to help others and to make their lives easier. So thank you so much and I hope you guys continue to help me out to be a better human being, a better teammate and a better person. Thank you.”
Hyde pointed out that past winners include Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. Ken Singleton and Eric Davis also have won it.
The Orioles will join the rest of Major League Baseball in celebrating the 19th annual Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday during the 7:10 p.m. game against the Mets at Citi Field.