Braun tabbed as Brewers' Clemente Award nominee
ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Braun is the Brewers' nominee for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award, which is presented annually to a Major Leaguer "who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement."
Braun was selected by Brewers Community Foundation Executive Director Cecelia Gore and Senior Director of Community Relations Katina Shaw.
"We confer every year about which player best meets the criteria, and we felt Ryan did," Gore said. "He has been really open to wanting to support our initiatives in the community, and he mirrored what they were looking for."
The nomination comes less than 14 months after Braun was suspended by MLB for the final 65 regular season games of 2013 for violations of the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program. In his first year back, Braun has been active on a number of fronts, according to Gore. Among the programs to which he has lent time and money are the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, and Habitat for Humanity.
"It's an honor -- obviously, a tremendous honor," Braun said. "I've always tried to do everything I could to have a positive impact on people around me in the community, and do as much good as I can. I realize I'm fortunate to be in the position I'm in, so every opportunity I have to give back is special. Whether you're recognized for it or not is incredibly special, but to be recognized and mentioned a name alongside Roberto Clemente is really special."
Last month, Braun and his wife, Larisa, helped Brewers Community Foundation unveil a "Growing Power" mosaic mural which is on display on the loge level Miller Park for the rest of this season. The mural will travel to schools throughout Wisconsin during the 2015-16 school year as part of a program that teaches kids about healthy eating.
Braun also has made $25,000 donations to ARCW in support of families affected by AIDS, and in 2014 gave $25,000 in partnership with Brewers Community Foundation to support Make-A-Wish's 30th anniversary. Continuing a tradition he has upheld since 2007, Braun funded 15 scholarships in 2014 worth $1,000 apiece for students from the Greater Milwaukee area whose families face financial barriers to affording college.
"He's been the same since Day 1," Gore said, "and I've been here five years. We meet with him and the rest of the players every Spring Training to find out what his interests are. He has not changed from that standpoint at all."
The 30 Clemente Award nominees are now subject to a fan vote, the winner of which will be announced during the World Series. There were more than 1.3 million fan votes last year, and fans can begin casting ballots again on Wednesday at ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media. Voting ends on Oct. 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to next month's World Series.
The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel of dignitaries, which includes Commissioner Bud Selig; MLB chief operating officer and Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred; Vera Clemente; Hall of Fame Broadcaster and the Spanish Voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers Jaime Jarrin; MLB Network analysts and former Clemente Award winners Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds (also of FOX Sports) and John Smoltz (also of FOX Sports); Hall of Famer, ESPN analyst and former Clemente Award winner Barry Larkin; ESPN analyst and former Clemente Award winner Rick Sutcliffe; FOX broadcaster Joe Buck; Hall of Famer and TBS analyst Dennis Eckersley; TBS analyst Ron Darling (also of MLB Network); MLB.com senior correspondent Hal Bodley; a representative from Chevrolet and others.