LOS ANGELES -- For the third time with the Dodgers, and the fifth time in his career, first baseman Adrián González is his club's nominee for this year's prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.Wednesday marks the 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB to honor Clemente's legacy and to
LOS ANGELES -- For the third time with the Dodgers, and the fifth time in his career, first baseman Adrián González is his club's nominee for this year's prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.
Wednesday marks the 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially acknowledge local club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. Clubs playing at home on Wednesday will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies. Visiting clubs 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 official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.
The original "Commissioner's Award" for philanthropic service was renamed in 1973 in honor of Clemente, the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star, who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Fans are encouraged to participate in the new process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award by posting any nominee's voting hashtags to MLB's official social media accounts, @MLB on Twitter and Facebook.com/MLB. Gonzalez's hashtag is #VoteAdrian.
Major League Baseball announced the 30 club nominees on Tuesday for the annual recognition of a player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Each club nominates one player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.
Gonzalez was selected for his work through the Adrian and Betsy González Foundation, which empowers underprivileged youth in many ways, from the awarding of college scholarships to pediatric cancer support to ballpark access to low-income families and field renovations in his native Tijuana.
"For me it's very important to be active off the field," said Gonzalez. "Just try to help any way I can. For me it's more important than a lot of other things. It's great that I've been able to somewhat be able to produce on the field as well. And it's an honor to be nominated for an award named after somebody that gave so much to the game and to the world, both on and off the field."
Gonzalez and his wife launched Adrian Gonzalez's Viva Los Dodgers Days in 2013, which provide all-inclusive All-You-Can-Eat tickets and parking for families in greater Los Angeles by partnering with various non-profit organizations that provide services to the underprivileged and low-income communities.
Gonzalez is an ambassador for PADRES Contra El Cancer, an organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families, and in November 2015, he played host to a charity softball game co-chaired by actress Eva Longoria to benefit the charity.
Gonzalez has regularly attended the club's Children's Holiday Party and has taken on a holiday giving project each offseason during his time in Los Angeles, gifting 200 high school students from Roosevelt High School with Nike footwear at NIKETOWN Los Angeles in 2014, delivering Christmas gifts to patients at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and donating/ distributing $25,000 in toys during the holidays at the Annual East Los Angeles Winter Wonderland Holiday Celebration in 2012 and '13.
He helped renovate a Little League baseball field in Tijuana in 2012, which was renamed in his honor, and continues to financially support two baseball fields in Tijuana for youth, Campo Adrian Gonzalez en la Liga Municipal de Tijuana. In December '14, Gonzalez made a significant commitment in support of youth baseball in Mexico. Gonzalez began Liga de Béisbol TELMEX Adrián González, a baseball league for youngsters ages 14 to 15. Gonzalez remains committed to growing youth baseball in Mexico and his youth baseball league will return in 2016.
Gonzalez has supported his alma mater, Eastlake High School's baseball program, and hosted charity events in support of San Diego-area Little Leagues and the South Bay Family YMCA.
He received the Padres Chairman's Award in 2007 for contributions to the community in addition to being nominated by his teammates for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2008 (Padres) and 2013 (Dodgers).
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.