MLBbros Tony Kemp and Jason Heyward were nominated by their teams for one of the most prestigious honors in Major League Baseball, the Roberto Clemente Award.
Roberto Clemente played all 18 of his Major League seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
During that time he won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1966, won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves, led the National League in batting for four seasons and collected over 3,000 hits during his career, but even bigger was his impact off the field.
Clemente was known for his charity work, particularly helping Latin American and Caribbean countries with food and baseball equipment during the off-season.
In 1972, a plane crash tragically took the Hall of Famers life at just 38; he was on his way to help the country of Nicaragua after it had been affected by an earthquake.
Wednesday, September 15 will be the 20th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which honors Clemente’s legacy both on and off the field.
Each player and coach will wear a “21” patch on their jerseys, and on Tuesday each Major League team announced their nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
The “J-Hey” kid has been doing work for his community since he broke into the Bigs at the age of 17 with a first at bat home run and now he is being nominated for his work on the North side of Chicago. During the COVID 19 pandemic, Heyward helped several nonprofits and underserved communities with basic necessities.
Heyward continues to show his commitment to Chicago, the Cubs and his teammates through contributions to community and nonprofit organizations, @CubsCharities and player foundations.
On Friday, the Chicago Cubs placed five-time Gold Glove winner Jason Heyward on the 10-day injured list, the latest in a flurry of moves that officially marked the end of an era on Chicago’s North Side.
Heyward, despite 2-years and $44 million remaining on his contract, is the latest odd man out in Chicago, although the writing has been on the wall for Hayward for some time now.
The Ricketts family has made it clear that the glory days are over, and the time for change is now.
Despite the sadness being displayed by Cubs fans, this team has done what most teams are unable to do.
In an era where championship aspirations are often characterized by “windows”, the Cubs had arguably the most successful 4-year span in team history.
This stretch included three trips to the NLCS and that glorious year in 2016 that Cubs fans across the world will never forget.
While the bulk of the focus has been placed on core pieces Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez being traded (and rightfully so).
The story of the 2016 curse breakers cannot be told without Heyward and another MLB bro; current St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler.
The 2016 Chicago Cubs battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series to force one final winner take all matchup in Cleveland.
If the longest standing championship drought in modern sports history was going to end, it would end on the grandest stage in all of sports; Game 7.
Fowler and Heyward would both affect this game, but in two completely different ways.
For Fowler, it was shaking off a 4-for-25 series to deliver three huge hits in Game 7, including a leadoff home run.
His homer was the first leadoff home-run in the World Series by a Black player since Yankees Icon Derek Jeter did it 16 years prior against the New York Mets.
Now Dexter may have set the tone to start the game, and after Cleveland battled back to send it to extras, it was the vet Heyward who rallied the proverbial troops.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci’s bookThe Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse gave us a first hand look into how a speech given by Heyward during their late night rain delay changed the course of Cubs history forever.
“We’re the best team in baseball, and we’re the best team in baseball for a reason,” Hayward said. “Now we’re going to show it. We play like the score is nothing-nothing. We’ve got to stay positive and fight for your brothers. Stick together and we’re going to win this game.”
And the rest is history.
Now the teardown may be officially underway at Wrigley, but young bros like Ed Howard and All- Star Futures Game MVP Brennen Davis will certainly expedite the process.
But today, we tip our cap for one final farewell to the bros who helped make history.
Jala Norman discusses the inner-city rivalry between the Cubs and White Sox and how their new City Connect Jerseys reflect each team’s city, history, fans, and personality. The Chicago squads share the city, but each team has a culture of its own.
Arizona D-Backs (June 18th), San Francisco Giants (July 9th), LA Dodgers (Late August)
It doesn’t seem too long ago when Jayson Heyward made his MLB debut and was one of the most exciting players in baseball. Time sure does fly by, that was 11 years ago and now Heyward is an experienced, veteran in the league.
Heyward has had success throughout his MLB career and is currently playing on his third team, the Chicago Cubs.
He won his first and only World Series in 2016 with the Cubs and has become a vocal leader on the team.
At the plate, Heyward showcases a silky smooth and quick swing, and possesses a lot of power. Regardless of his plate fluctuations, Heyward is always lit with the web.
If someone who’s a fan of baseball saw Heyward play for the first time this season, they might think that Heyward has not had much success.
There’s no question that he’s struggled at the plate, hitting .187. But recently, his bat has come alive. So please don’t do too much worrying about Heyward’s offensive performance.
On May 17, Heyward had his best offensive showing of the season, going 2-for-4 at the plate with 3 RBI and a home run.
That’s the performance Cubs fans have wanted to see for a while.
He recently was on a three-game hitting streak and during that stretch had four hits in 12 at-bats.
In April, he came in clutch off the bench, hitting a walk-off single against the New York Mets. Heyward isn’t the everyday starter like he was early in his career, but he does see his fair share on the field.
When Heyward first joined the Cubs in 2016, his numbers dropped noticeably. During that season, he batted .230 and hit only seven home runs.
That’s after hitting a career-high .293 the previous season with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He knew something needed to change at the plate and he did not want to waste anytime.
In a 2017 article from SI.com, former Cubs’ hitting coach John Mallee talked about Heyward’s work ethic after struggling in 2016.
“He may be better than (he ever) was,” Mallee said. “I’m very happy for him. His mind is in the right place. He has done a lot of mental stuff. It’s really special what he has put into this.”
Heyward also talked about the adjustments he made in the article.
“I’m able to be more balanced. I’m able to get more good swings off because I’m at the right spot at the right time,” Heyward said. “I’m not taking my hands behind my head, wrapping. When you wrap, with your first move to get the bat head out, you have to go around.
“As a hitter, you don’t want to do that. You want to stay right down the line. And when you stay down the line, you give yourself more room for error.”
Now keep in mind this was almost four years ago and since then, his numbers at the plate are better than his first season in Chicago.
The New Jersey native started his career with the Atlanta Braves in 2010 and finished his first year batting .277 and hitting 17 home runs.
It wasn’t long for our MLB bro to make a name for himself in the league and he quickly became a fan favorite in Atlanta.
During his time in Atlanta, he made the All-Star team and won multiple Gold Glove awards.
Even though Heyward isn’t having the success he had early on in his career, he still is a valuable asset to the lineup, whether he’s in the field or at the plate.
Look for Heyward to have some clutch at-bats this season. He’s a true professional.