What Clemente nomination means to Jared Walsh
ANAHEIM -- For Angels first baseman Jared Walsh, being the club’s 2022 nominee for the annual Roberto Clemente Award is special to him for a variety of reasons.
It’s one of the most prestigious awards in baseball and honors the player who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.” Walsh said he learned the importance of giving back to the community from his mother, Lisa, and that being the club’s nominee is especially meaningful because his parents hail from Pittsburgh, where Clemente played from 1955-72 before his untimely death in a plane crash en route to deliver to aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
"My parents are both from Pittsburgh, and Clemente was the entire family’s favorite player. So to be attached to that is really cool," Walsh said. "Roberto Clemente was a Hall of Fame player both on and off the field. As a child, I was inspired by the way he played baseball and his humanitarian efforts of serving people in need. He was a positive force and risked his life to improve the lives of others. I am extremely humbled and honored to be this year’s nominee for the Angels.”
Walsh is incredibly active in the community, both in the Anaheim area and in the greater Atlanta area where he grew up. Walsh volunteers for almost every available charity event available to Angels players, including this year’s Play Ball Weekend Clinic, visiting young patients at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and MemorialCare Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, reading library books to children through the Rally Readers program, and inspiring young students as an Adopt-A-School assembly speaker at local elementary schools.
Walsh, who was honored as the nominee in a special ceremony before the Angels’ game against the Mariners on Sept. 16, most recently spent time with students at San Juan Elementary School in San Juan Capistrano on Tuesday.
In the offseason, Walsh is an active volunteer with his mother with Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta and also worked with Hands on Atlanta, which provides packaged food for those in need. Walsh, who lost his father at age 19, is also partnering with The Single Parent Project, an organization that offers financial assistance and resources to single parents. He designated The Single Parent Project as the recipient of a donation from MLB charities as part of his nomination.
“We are excited to have Jared Walsh be the Angels nominee for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award,” said Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl. “This is his first year as our nominee, and the Angels organization is very proud of him as he continues to support our community efforts and exemplifying the characteristics of Roberto Clemente with his involvement in various programs such as the Habitat for Humanity and The Single Parent Project.”
Walsh is one of 30 nominees for the award and fans can vote for Walsh here. The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue-ribbon panel that includes Commissioner Rob Manfred, Clemente's children and representatives from MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN, TBS and MLB.com.
Walsh, in his typical humble manner, said he's seen what others have done around the league and it is inspiring him to do even more in the future.
"I was watching Noah Syndergaard pitch, and I saw that Kyle Gibson raised $100,000 and I watched a Cubs game and Jason Heyward has done a ton of things, so I have a ton of work to do," Walsh said. "Hopefully I can get nominated in the future, because these guys are blowing me out of the water right now.”