Musgrove nominated for Clemente Award

September 15th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- During his three seasons in Pittsburgh, spent an awful lot of time in the city's Roberto Clemente museum. He made a point to learn as much as he could about the legacy of Clemente, and his charitable works. A baseball fan and a student of the game first, Musgrove resolved to leave an off-field legacy of his own.

"I always had that desire to do a little more than just be good at baseball," Musgrove said. "But learning about his legacy, being there, it definitely kicked me into gear."

In January, Musgrove was traded to San Diego, and in his first season playing for his hometown team, Musgrove has been a resounding on- and off-field success. On the field, Musgrove owns a 2.93 ERA this season and has been the Padres' steadiest starting pitcher.

Off the field, he's been equally impressive -- and on Tuesday, Musgrove was named the team's Roberto Clemente Award nominee, as the player who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

“It's probably one of the highest honors I've gotten in my life, I guess,” Musgrove said. “To be recognized for it, it feels really good. I definitely don't want it to feel like you need the recognition and that's why you do it. But it is exciting to win it and be amongst the group of people that have won it in the past.”

Musgrove's biggest emphasis has been his work with youth sports, in particular a local non-profit that supports those facing physical obstacles called the Challenged Athletes Foundation. When Musgrove authored the first no-hitter in Padres history in April, he made an $8,056 donation to the foundation -- a dollar for every game the franchise had gone without a prior no-no.

"It's been special, man," Musgrove said. "It's nice to be able to give back and help people out. But I think I get just as much joy out of it as they do."

His work with the Challenged Athletes Foundation has brought him a relationship with a 16-year-old named Landis Sims, who was born limb deficient, missing his hands and lower legs. The two first met during the offseason and regularly chat with each other via text.

Then, in July, Sims signed a one-day contract with the Padres. He and Musgrove met on the field prior to a game against the Rockies, and the two played catch, with the resilient Sims both catching and throwing with a custom designed glove.

"Seeing everything that he is capable of doing with the limitations that he has, it's extremely cool," Musgrove said. "His mindset and his approach to everything -- not just baseball -- is something that's inspired me.

"And it's a mutual friendship, man. We'll text each other just to say what's up. We'll text about baseball, about life, whatever's going on."

Musgrove's charitable efforts are nothing new. Last year, he helped raise funds by auctioning custom signed cleats for Be A Match, a global leader in bone marrow transplantation that also connects patients with donors.

But now that Musgrove is back playing baseball in his hometown, those charitable efforts have taken on a different meaning to him.

“It's something I always wanted to do, whatever city I was in, was get involved,” Musgrove said. “I've tried to be as involved as I can in every city I've played in. But it's even more special now that I get to do it in my own hometown where it really does mean a lot more to me than anything else. Being recognized for it would've been cool anywhere, but I think the fact that it comes in San Diego is even cooler.”

Fittingly, Musgrove will take the ball Wednesday night in San Francisco, as Major League Baseball commemorates the 20th annual Roberto Clemente Day.