Carlos Beltran has had a busy past few months. The former Kansas City Royals player landed Sports Illustrated’s inaugural Hope Award on Tuesday night.
When tragedy struck his native Puerto Rico, Carlos Beltran helped raise money and organized relief efforts. It led to Sports Illustrated naming the former Kansas City Royals outfielder the recipient of its inaugural Hope Award. Beltran had the award presented to him by the Mayor of San Juan during Wednesday’s ceremony.
The honor is part of the 2017 SI Sportsperson of the Year Award Ceremony. It took place on Wednesday at Barclays Center in New York. The show will be televised on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET Friday.
J.J. Watt and Jose Altuve shared the Sportsperson of the Year Award due to the impact both had on Houston after Hurricane Harvey struck. Watt, defensive lineman for the Texans, helped the city greatly away from the field by helping raise $37 million for aid to the devastated area. Altuve, shortstop for the Astros, and his teammates provided a welcome distraction and uniting force as Southeast Texas recovered.
Beltran, of course, was one of those teammates who helped guide the Astros to a World Series title. While the 40-year-old didn’t play much in the series, his leadership impacted a young group in countless ways. It’s no surprise then that Beltran took it upon himself to help his homeland after Hurricane Maria struck.
How Beltran provided hope
Stephanie Apstein wrote about Beltran’s exploits for SI. In the piece, Apstein wrote about how the former Kansas City Royals draft pick handled himself in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria making landfall:
"He couldn’t sleep. He could barely eat. He just waited, bleary-eyed, for his phone to ring with news of his family."
Finally, the call he had been waiting for came:
"After six days without any news, his brother, Wilfredo, called, and the normally stoic Beltrán burst into tears. His family was O.K."
Following that scare, Beltran began doing everything he could to help his native Puerto Rico. With the help of Astros owner Jim Crane, he took three planes to the island filled with supplies. They returned with people, including cancer patients. Beltran also spent $1.5 million — $1 million of his own and $500,000 raised by his foundation — on food and water. And he continues to make trips to deliver supplies.
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Beltran grew up in Manati, Puerto Rico, graduating from Fernando Callejo High School before the Kansas City Royals selected him in the second round of the 1995 draft. He ultimately spent 20 years in the majors, including the first six-and-a-half seasons with the Boys in Blue. After that came stop with the Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Rangers and finally the Astros again for the 2017 campaign.
The Hope Award provides what should be (might be?) the cap to a busy past few months for Beltran. Following the world championship, he announced his retirement in a post on The Players’ Tribune. Recently, Beltran interviewed for the Yankees manager role, which ultimately went to Aaron Boone. There’s a strong possibility Beltran lands a managerial gig in the coming years. Until then (and even if he does), expect him to continue helping the people of Puerto Rico recover.
What do you think, fans? Are you surprised at all to hear about Beltran’s humanitarian efforts? Let us know your thoughts.