PHOENIX —Major League Baseball and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, today announced that Willie Bloomquist was named the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2012 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Today marks the eleventh annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Bloomquist is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet pays tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. The Award is named for the 15-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Starting in 2011, Bloomquist has hosted a Phoenix Children’s Hospital patient and his or her family for a VIP day at Chase Field during one game each homestand. He provides premium tickets, a VIP tour of the field and clubhouse, meet & greet with several of his teammates, dinner for each member of the family and a personalized autographed game-issued bat and customized D-backs jersey featuring his or her last name and Bloomquist’s number 18. Since the program’s inception, he has hosted a total of 24 young hospital patients and their families and provided nearly $10,000 in value not to mention the priceless VIP experience.
In addition to Bloomquist’s hosting duties, he and his wife Lisa launched “The Abe and Max Fund” at Phoenix Children’s Hospital after two patients made a lasting impact when visiting Chase Field in 2011. The fund is designed to raise money to buy electronics and games for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and was started with a personal $5,000 contribution from the Bloomquist family and matched by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Bloomquist, who attended nearby Arizona State University, also demonstrates his passion for giving back to his local community by serving as the D-backs Ambassador in the APS Festival of Lights Parade and spending time with at-risk children during the D-backs Winter Classic at Chase Field.
“Willie Bloomquist epitomizes Roberto Clemente’s legacy both on and off the field,” D-backs’ President & CEO Derrick Hall said. “He is a tireless worker whose energy radiates on the field, and his passion for giving back to the community is just as noticeable. I would like to thank Willie and his family for making a difference in so many lives in the Phoenix area and beyond. He truly embodies both the spirit of Roberto Clemente and the mission of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation.”
"My family and I feel that it is a responsibility to give back to our community,” Bloomquist said. “I feel very fortunate to play for a Diamondbacks organization that values support for their community. To be honored as their nominee for the Roberto Clemente award is very humbling. I would personally like to thank my wife Lisa, the Diamondbacks’ organization, and everyone else who has assisted me in the effort to make our community a better place."
The distinguished list of national Roberto Clemente Award recipients includes 13 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
| 1971 - Willie Mays* || 1985 - Don Baylor || 1998 - Sammy Sosa |
| 1972 - Brooks Robinson* || 1986 - Garry Maddox || 1999 - Tony Gwynn* |
| 1973 - Al Kaline* || 1987 - Rick Sutcliffe || 2000 - Al Leiter |
| 1974 - Willie Stargell* || 1988 - Dale Murphy || 2001 - Curt Schilling |
| 1975 - Lou Brock* || 1989 - Gary Carter* || 2002 - Jim Thome |
| 1976 - Pete Rose || 1990 - Dave Stewart || 2003 - Jamie Moyer |
| 1977 - Rod Carew* || 1991 - Harold Reynolds || 2004 - Edgar Martinez |
| 1978 - Greg Luzinski || 1992 - Cal Ripken, Jr.* || 2005 - John Smoltz |
| 1979 - Andre Thornton || 1993 - Barry Larkin || 2006 - Carlos Delgado |
| 1980 - Phil Niekro* || 1994 - Dave Winfield* || 2007 - Craig Biggio |
| 1981 - Steve Garvey || 1995 - Ozzie Smith* || 2008 - Albert Pujols |
| 1982 - Ken Singleton || 1996 - Kirby Puckett* || 2009 - Derek Jeter |
| 1983 - Cecil Cooper || 1997 - Eric Davis || 2010 - Tim Wakefield |
| 1984 - Ron Guidry || || 2011 - David Ortiz |
*Member of Baseball Hall of Fame
Beginning today, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the award recipient by visiting MLB.com/ClementeAward to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 14th, and the winner of the fan poll will receive one vote among those cast by a selection panel.
All Clubs playing at home today will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies, while each visiting Club will honor their nominees before another September home game. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and the official dugout lineup cards.