Spending time with Roberto Clemente Jr. requires a lot of energy, an open mind, a heart for service, and a healthy appetite.
The 53-year-old former pro baseball player and broadcaster spends his days carrying on the charitable legacy of his father, Roberto Clemente. We were able to catch up with Clemente Jr. at the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh. From there we followed him to the Energy Innovation Center and to lunch at Gauchos.
Clemente Jr. slides effortlessly from meeting to meeting with the goal of fundraising and dedicating energy to helping people.
“It’s important to continue his good works,” Clemente Jr. said about his father while sitting in the Pittsburgh museum that celebrates his father’s life and legacy. “I know what it means to carry this name. My father was an angel. His name still makes people feel good.”
Striking Out Poverty is the initiative and combined mission of Food for the Hungry and Big League Impact. Clemente Jr. was named Global Ambassador on March 16, 2017.
“Becoming the Food for the Hungry Global Ambassador is finding my dream job and it allows me to pull together contacts and resources to impact people in need,” Clemente Jr. said. “We are able to create great awareness for Food for the Hungry, the work that the organization does, and we do this by recruiting partners to create funding opportunities, as well as mobilize around issues of extreme poverty, globally. We work to end poverty in some of the most desperate places in the world.”
The 2018 Striking Out Poverty campaign built seven baseball fields, three water systems, and five sustainable farms in the Dominican Republic. The group also served over 100,000 meals and clothed more than 5,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“We don’t see or hear enough about what is going on in these people’s lives,” said Clemente Jr. “Every day these parents lose children to malnutrition and diseases because they lack basic access to clean drinking water. These people should be in our minds and prayers every day.”
Striking Out Poverty has enlisted a collective of baseball players to help in their fundraising. Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals put up a $50,000 dollar match in 2018, and pitchers Luke Weaver, Mike Mayers, Dan Straily, Chase Anderson, Liam Hendriks Michael Wacha, and Tyler Lyons allowed fans and companies to pledge money for their on-field performances per strikeout. Dee Gordon dedicates his stolen bases towards support for Syrian refugees. Nick Ahmed does it by the hit.
Clemente Jr. also utilizes his expansive network to gain donations.
“I’ve been very blessed to have met a lot of different people,” he said. “I just want to remind folks about these kids who are suffering. The families are living on less than two dollars a day. Imagine that. This is why we must be steadfast in fighting to help.”
Striking Out Poverty 2019 will be launching Opening Day, you can find out more about the players and the causes they supported by clicking here (Link https://bigleagueimpact.org/campaign/striking-out-poverty-2018/)