SEATTLE -- Raul Ibanez, who has made a big impact both on and off the field over his 18 years in the Major Leagues, has been selected as the Mariners' 2013 nominee for the 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 Sept. 17 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.
Ibanez, 41, has hit a team-leading 27 home runs for the Mariners in his first season back with the club since 2008. The veteran outfielder has 62 RBIs in 114 games, having played a larger-than-expected role with Seattle after signing as a free agent in December.
Ibanez was brought back by the Mariners for his leadership skills, something that has translated outside the diamond over the course of his lengthy career. The Miami native was Seattle's nominee for the Clemente Award for three straight years from 2006-08 in his prior time with the Mariners.
Ibanez was one of the co-chairs of this year's annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament, which raised $220,000. During his career with the Mariners, Ibanez has hosted the charity tournament six times and helped raise $1.176 million for CF research.
Ibanez and his wife, Tery, have also been involved with the Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program that works to make books available to at-risk children throughout the state of Washington. In addition to personal donations, the Ibanezes hosted an assembly for local at-risk students and helped Page Ahead distribute books to each student. They also read to the students in both English and Spanish.
Ibanez has also served as spokesman for the Mariners' Refuse to Abuse partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and is an active participant in Make-A-Wish, which grants wishes to kids with life-threatening medical conditions.
Over his career, Ibanez has supported a number of local charities and nonprofits, including Boys & Girls Clubs, Seattle Children's Hospital, Esperanza, Volunteers of America, Teammates For Kids Foundation, Olive Crest, Treehouse, Canine Companions For Independence, Covenant House Pennsylvania and Project H.O.M.E.
Ibanez was named by the Sporting News in 2006 as one of the "Good Guys" in sports and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball Players Association's "Heart & Hustle" Award. In 2011, as a member of the Phillies, Ibanez received the Tug McGraw Good Guy Award from the Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America after forming Ibanez Team Resurgence for homeless and at-risk youth.
Ibanez will be honored during a ceremony at Safeco Field on Sept. 23 before the Mariners-Royals game and will be presented with a $7,500 check in his name to the Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.