Yet the 18-time All-Star said no accolade surpassed receiving the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors a baseball player for service to community. “The Roberto Clemente Award is one of the most treasured awards in my home,” he said.
Carew offered life lessons to the students, and he described obstacles to his success that were as significant as his achievements. Born on a train in Panama, he came to New York at the age of 14. He was beaten repeatedly by his father, but the baseball diamond was his haven. “That was the place where I was most comfortable,” he said.
As an adult, Carew saw his youngest daughter die of leukemia. That helped him understand the important things in life: “We all make mistakes, and we’re going to make more. The important thing is what we do to make ourselves better people. … God has given us one life to live, so make use of it.”
Carew now spends much of his time helping others, especially through the National Marrow Donor Program and the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. “I hope that when I die, people don’t talk about me as being a great baseball player,” he said. “I hope they talk about me as being a good person.”