Recently retired MLB legend Carlos Beltran has won Sports Illustrated's Hope Award because of his work with his home nation of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
A common thread runs through every athlete’s story: the power and pull of home. In 2017, dozens of athletes from Puerto Rico who have found success around the globe rallied to help their home island as it began to rebuild after Hurricane Maria. Beltran has raised nearly $1.5 million to help the recovery effort and has been an outspoken advocate to raise awareness of the plight of Puerto Rico, demonstrating the power of the athlete’s platform to deliver hope in times of need.
Beltran and his family spearheaded the fundraising on CrowdRise with an opening donation of $1 million. The money raised has gone towards the Fundacion Carlos Beltran and then be given to various charities. Beltran stated the plan was created so that the family “can personally insure that all funds go where they will be needed the most to help when the water recedes.”
"I am blessed to have played this game for 20 years," he wrote. "I am blessed to have played for so many great organizations. I am blessed to have shared all of my experiences with my wife and my three kids, my family and friends. To have so many loving fans. To have been able to build a school in Puerto Rico and change the lives of so many kids. To have won the Roberto Clemente Award, which is the greatest honor I could have ever received as a ballplayer. And I am blessed to be a champion. But now, my time as a player has come to an end. Today, I am officially announcing my retirement. Muchas gracias, béisbol."
Beltran finished his career after winning his first World Series title. He is a nine-time All-Star and played for the Royals, Mets, Yankees, Cardinals, Astros, Rangers and Giants. He finished his career with 2,725 hits, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBIs and a career .279 batting average.
Beltran ranks eighth all-time among center fielders by the JAWS metric. Only Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey, Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider are ranked ahead of him.