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Nelson Cruz wins MLB's Roberto Clemente Award for philanthropy

The former Twins designated hitter supported 1,200 families in his Dominican Republic hometown during the pandemic, fed another 700 families and bought a fire truck.

HOUSTON — Editor's note: The video above first aired Feb. 21, 2020. 

Nelson Cruz has been given Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for character, community involvement and philanthropy. 

Cruz, a former Twins designated hitter, received the honor before Game 2 of the World Series. He provided financial support to 1,200 families in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cruz also helped feed 700 families and provided the town with a fire engine, 80 firefighter uniforms and an ambulance. He organizes dentists and optometrists to go the town’s clinic for checkups, medicine and eyewear. 

The 17-year MLB veteran and seven-time All-Star was nominated by the Twins, who traded him to Tampa Bay in July. Cruz joins Rod Carew, Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett as Minnesota players to win the prestigious award.