Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians
MLB Debut: September 1, 2009
Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco and his wife Karelis (Karry) are passionate about supporting people in need. They provide box lunches to the homeless in Tampa, support scholarships for single mothers; distribute clothing and school supplies in Africa; and provide food, medical supplies, and toys to people in Venezuela for Christmas. Carlos began visiting children in hospitals in 2014 — he still does, becoming a role model of hope and inspiration to kids and adults alike. He began visiting children in hospitals with his then four-year-old daughter in 2014. In July 2019, Carrasco disclosed that he had been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia and, with determination and courage, fought his way back to the mound in September. His article, “I May Have Cancer, But Cancer Doesn’t Have Me,” summed up his attitude toward the disease. Just a few months after his diagnosis, he launched the campaign “Punchout Cancer with Cookie” to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 2019, Carlos won the Roberto Clemente Award. Carlos’ positive spirit and perseverance helped him overcome a tremendous amount of adversity. His spirit and service to others inspired the city of Cleveland and fans around the globe.
Dee Gordon, Seattle Mariners
MLB Debut: June 6, 2011
Batting Average: .288
Home Runs: 18
Dee Gordon is a two-time All-Star, Silver Slugger, Hits leader, and Gold Glove Award winner. Yet, his efforts off the field and in the community are even more impressive. Dee created his Flash of Hope program in 2015 while in Miami to support kids and families who have been affected by domestic violence. When he was six, Dee lost his own mother to domestic abuse. Her memory has not only motivated him to accomplish his dreams, but also inspired his passion to support families dealing with domestic violence and help children who have lost a parent. In 2018, Dee brought his Flash of Hope program to Seattle and partnered with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, LifeWire, New Beginnings, and API Chaya to host families for a day at the ballpark. In addition, Dee has partnered with Food for the Hungry, Striking Out Poverty, Boys & Girls Clubs, Seattle Children’s, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Mariners Care. Dee overcame a terrible tragedy to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
Evan Marshall, Chicago White Sox
MLB Debut: May 6, 2014
While pitching for the Diamondbacks’ Class AAA affiliate in 2015, Evan Marshall was hit by a 105 mph line drive that fractured his skull and caused swelling and bleeding on the brain. Evan underwent emergency surgery, but doctors weren’t sure if he would make it through the night. After nearly slipping into a coma, it was his dog, Butters, who brought him back. His recovery was expected to span years, but Evan amazed fans and medical professionals by being cleared for spring training just seven months later. Evan credits some of his recovery to Butters, who was a calming influence when he was in the hospital and going through difficult rehabilitation. Evan and his wife, Allie, started the Butters Fund in partnership with the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona to raise money for patients with brain injuries so they can keep and take care of their pets while adjusting to life post-injury. Evan was nominated for his unwavering determination to return to baseball and for supporting others making their own recovery.
Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins
MLB Debut: June 6, 2014
Batting Average: .263
Home Runs: 20
Miguel “Miggy Ro” Rojas has partnered with the Miami Marlins and the Humane Society of Greater Miami to raise awareness and sponsor animals at an animal sanctuary. He has hosted several “Bark at the Park” nights for the Marlins and advocates for pets to be adopted and rescued, rather than purchased from breeders. Last year, Miguel helped his mom fulfill her lifelong dream of being a recording artist in Venezuela. Miguel’s mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor; Miguel has been by her side through all her treatments and struggles with the disease. Miguel was named the team’s 2019 Heart and Hustle Award winner. Voted on by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, the award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and traditions of the game. His dedication to the team, community, and family goes above and beyond.
Joe Smith, Houston Astros
Position: Relief Pitcher
MLB Debut: April 1, 2007
Joe Smith and his wife, Allie LaForce, partner to bring awareness to a cause close to their hearts: Huntington’s Disease (HD), a fatal neurological disorder with no cure. In 2012, Joe’s mother was diagnosed with HD, which Joe has a 50% chance of inheriting. Joe and Allie established the HelpCureHD foundation to help improve the quality of life for those affected by HD by contributing financial, emotional, and mental support while trying to find the cure. In 2019 alone, Joe and Allie hosted over 100 families at an Astros game and raised over $200,000 at their annual luncheon to provide care to those with HD. They also help pay for couples to use PGD-IVF testing to prevent the HD gene from being passed on to their children. The couple has partnered with the Houston Fertility Institute and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in pledging discounts for those couples who are referred by the charity. Joe’s performance on the mound, and his dedication and commitment to making a difference off the field, made him an ideal candidate for this award.