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St. Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols has racked up accolades on the field throughout his legendary 22-year career. He’s won three MVP awards, been selected to 11 All-Star Games, played on two World Series teams in St. Louis and is a member of the 600-home run and 3,000-hit clubs.
On Wednesday night, Pujols was honored for his work off the field, selected as the 2022 recipient of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award at the ESPYS.
The award goes to the individual whose “continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports.
“The candidate must embrace the core principles that Muhammad Ali embodied so well, including confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and respect,” according to ESPN.
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In 2005, Pujols founded the Pujols Family Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of impoverished people in the Dominican Republic as well as helping children and families living with Down syndrome.
“I have a daughter with Down syndrome, Isabella,” Pujols said in an ESPYS video. “I didn’t know what was Down syndrome and I had to learn a lot.
“We have programs for some of these kids and adults to do. Like basketball and cooking classes.”
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Pujols will call it a career after the 2022 season, leaving as arguably the greatest hitter of a generation and one of the greatest players ever. But Pujols says it’s his off-the-field work that gives him the most joy.
“It’s part of my responsibility, it’s part of this journey, to give back to the community,” Pujols said. “As great as my career has been, my passion is what I do when the season is over. And that’s to serve and give back. That’s how I want to be remembered.”
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It’s the second time in three years a Major League Baseball player has taken home the award. Nelson Cruz won the 2020 award.