Grandy: Community work essential for players

Mets' surging outfielder honored to be nominated for Clemente Award

September 29th, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- Unless drives home five runs over the season's final three games, he is going to set an unusual record. Granderson's 59 RBIs would be the fewest ever by a player with 30-plus home runs, breaking the mark of 64 shared by Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla.

A low-average, high-power player for most of his career, Granderson has pushed that skill set to an extreme this year, batting .233 with 30 homers in 147 games. But the Mets will take it, particularly considering Granderson's recent hot streak at the plate. Finishing 4-for-4 in Wednesday's series finale against the Marlins, Granderson has reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances. The Mets' top offensive performer last season, he is hitting .297 with 10 home runs, 24 RBIs and 26 runs scored over his last 26 games, improving his overall OPS to .792.

Most of that recent production has come out of the cleanup spot in manager Terry Collins' lineup, after Granderson spent the first half of the season almost exclusively batting leadoff.

"When I moved him to the fourth hole, it's a whole different animal," Collins said. "This guy's getting walks, he's getting big hits, he's hitting home runs -- he's played great for us."

Granderson's growing footprint also cannot hurt his chase for the individual accolade he covets most: the Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball's highest off-field honor.

All 30 clubs have a nominee for the Clemente Award, which MLB presents annually to the player who best represents baseball through character, community involvement and philanthropy. Fans are eligible to help select this year's by posting any nominee's voting hashtag to MLB's official social media accounts, @MLB on Twitter and Granderson's hashtag is #VoteGrandy.

"It's an honor for me to have my name associated with Roberto Clemente, who's one of the greatest players in the history of the game," said Granderson, whose Grand Kids Foundation performs charitable work both in New York City and his native Chicago. "His philosophy was that baseball, of course, was important, but serving the community was also important, and that's the adage I go by too."