MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Twins’ designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been nominated for this year’s Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award.
Cruz is a finalist for the award among Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, WWE fighter Titus O’Neil and New England Patriots brothers Devin and Jason McCourty.
The six-time All-Star and 15-year major league veteran led the Twins in most home runs during his first season with the team in 2019 — hitting 41 home runs.
Last year, Cruz received the Carl R. Pohlad Award for outstanding community service; and now is being recognized for his extensive charitable work in his hometown of Las Matas De Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic.
Cruz has donated numerous first responder vehicles to help treat and transport people to the hospital. He also built a new police station in Las Matas De Santa Cruz and donated a motorcycle for the city’s officers who previously had to walk.
— Nelson Cruz (@ncboomstick23) May 20, 2020
Annually, he brings in a dentist and optometrist to his hometown clinic and provides medical supplies to those in need. His health event enables more than 1,200 people to be evaluated and treated by volunteer doctors. Cruz also started the “Healing Venezuela” initiative, which helps 2,000 Venezuelan newborns annually receive life-sustaining nourishment during their first year.
Cruz has lead his Boomstick23 Foundation in establishing an education and technical center for youth around Las Matas de Santa Cruz, with the goal to help teach them a professional trade. He also engages with Twin Cities area youth, and previously hosted a vitilla clinic with Twins RBI All-Stars in 2019.
The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award is given to an athlete who demonstrates leadership and has created a positive impact on their community through sports. The candidate must embrace the core principles that Muhammad Ali embodied — including confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and respect.
All finalists will be given a $25,000 grant to the charity related to their award-winning efforts. And the winner will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to their award-winning humanitarian efforts.
The winner will be announced at this year’s ESPYS on June 21.