PHOENIX -- Adrian Gonzalez was selected as the Dodgers' nominee for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award.
Tuesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted on the 30th anniversary of his passing in 1972 to keep alive Clemente's spirit of giving. Voting runs from Tuesday through Oct. 6 at chevybaseball.com as fans help decide which of those 30 club winners will receive this prestigious recognition. The nominees were chosen based on their dedication to giving back to the community, as well as their outstanding ability on the field.
The award is named for the achievements and character of Clemente, a 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.
Gonzalez, along with wife Betsy, became involved in charity work in Los Angeles almost immediately upon his arrival last summer from Boston, where he continued the community work he had done in San Diego.
The Southern California charity he has designated is PADRES Contra El Cancer, an organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families. PADRES began its mission more than 26 years ago to support the needs of the Latino community who have a higher risk of medical problems due to a series of complex factors, including language barriers, socio-economic challenges and limited access to community resources.
Gonzalez invited families served by PADRES to the Dodgers game on Mother's Day. This invitation was the first date of a season long program he initiated, "Adrian Gonzalez's Viva Los Dodgers Days."
Gonzalez served an honorary co-chair for the PADRES Contra El Cancer "Stand for Hope Run/Walk" in June. He supported fundraising through social media efforts; recorded a public service announcement; lent his image to the marketing campaign; and donated tickets to a game, parking and a meet-and-greet with him for the top fundraiser of the Walk to incentivize the participants.
The Adrian Gonzalez Scholarship program began in San Diego, continued in Boston and will start up in Los Angeles in 2014. The Adrian Gonzalez Scholarship program provides financial assistance to underprivileged students attending four-year colleges and universities.
The Gonzalezes financially support two baseball fields in Tijuana, Mexico, for youth -- "Campo Adrian Gonzalez en la Liga Municipal de Tijuana". Adrian attended rededication ceremonies for both fields in November 2012, drawing an estimated 4,000 people to the ceremonies. He also donated Dodgers items to the youth baseball players.
Last winter, Gonzalez participated in the Dodgers' "Pitching in the Community Caravan," hosted the Dodgers' annual Children's Holiday Party, and purchased and distributed $25,000 worth of toys to children in East Los Angeles.
On the field, Gonzalez has been the most consistent hitter in a lineup of big names.
"From the beginning, Adrian was steady," manager Don Mattingly said, "He's been the guy driving in the runs. I look at him in a sense as the glue that kept us going and hanging around. It could have been a lot worse. He steadied the ship from an offensive standpoint."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.