SEATTLE -- On the field, Kyle Seager is admired by teammates and competitors alike for his rugged, workmanlike demeanor. He prides himself on being in the lineup every day but is as far from flashy as could be about it.
That’s also how the 33-year-old Mariners third baseman carries himself off the field, specifically with his charitable efforts. Seager is in his 11th season in Seattle and has become one of the most active members in the community among the city’s star-studded cast of athletes.
On Tuesday, Seager was recognized for his efforts. He’s the Mariners’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which annually recognizes the MLB player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Seager was one of 18 first-time nominees for the honor, which is considered one of baseball's most prestigious.
“It’s such an unbelievable honor,” Seager said. “I'm extremely proud and extremely honored. It’s a very humbling award. You think about what [Clemente] was able to accomplish in his lifetime, and then you think about what this means, it's certainly bigger than baseball, and it's something I'm extremely proud of.”
Beginning today, fans can vote for the Roberto Clemente Award via mlb.com/clemente21 (English) and LasMayores.com/clemente21 (Spanish), through the end of the regular season on Oct. 3. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by a blue ribbon panel that will select the league-wide winner of the award.
MLB also announced that Sept. 15, the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, will be celebrated as Roberto Clemente Day in perpetuity. On that day, the Pirates, the club for which Clemente played his entire Hall of Fame career, again will have all players, managers and coaches wear Roberto’s “21” on their uniforms. Additionally, for the first time, all Roberto Clemente Award nominees and previous award recipients will have the option to wear “21” on their uniforms, joining players from Puerto Rico and others who wore the number during the 2020 commemoration of Roberto Clemente Day.
Regardless of what on-field impact Seager leaves on Seattle in this, potentially his final season with the Mariners, one certain is that the imprint he’s left off the field is one that resonates.
In 2021, for the seventh straight year, Seager teamed with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, serving as a spokesperson for the Refuse To Abuse campaign. He also supports the annual Refuse To Abuse 5K that raises funds and celebrates the resilience of domestic violence survivors and the power of community.
The 2021 Refuse To Abuse 5K, held both virtually and in-person at T-Mobile Park, raised more than $113,000.
Seager has also supported the Seattle-area youth, specifically those with critical illnesses, including countless visits to children’s hospitals, most notably the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Seattle Children’s Heart Center. He also leads fundraising campaigns for pediatric cancer research and family support programs. It all hits home for Seager, the father of three and a patient of open-heart surgery as an infant.
Seager has helped grant multiple wishes and entertain kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation with visits to the ballpark. In 2020, he helped the Make-A-Wish Foundation Washington chapter transition its annual WO: Wonder of Wishes in-person fundraising luncheon into a virtual event, which raised more than $169,000 to help support children waiting for wishes because of delays caused by the pandemic.
“I had to download the Zoom app, so that was different,” Seager said. “I had to figure out a lot of things, and you couldn't do any in-person stuff. You can't necessarily go into hospitals and go in and see a bunch of people. And then like even the Make-A-Wish stuff, even something simple, like the Rounding The Bases, everything has been different.”
In 2016, Seager teamed up with the Vs Cancer Foundation, the nonprofit devoted to saving lives of children by funding international cancer research projects, to create the Kyle Seager Vs Cancer campaign, which raised more than $23,000 for Seattle Children’s and Strong Against Cancer. Seager also supports charities such as the American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs and Mariners Care, the Seattle Mariners’ nonprofit foundation.
Seager’s veteran leadership and baseball guidance has been instrumental in the development of Seattle’s young roster in 2021, but it also has carried beyond the field.
“The fact that Kyle has done that here in Seattle is really important, and I think it's really important for our younger players to understand what it means to give back,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “They get all caught up in where you're at in your career, and you want certain status, and you want to play for a long time in a city. But it's so important to give back.”
Said Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford: “He’s one of the greatest human beings. That’s ‘Cap’ right there. He's out here busting his butt every day and he has over 10 years in the league, and that shows a lot that's leading by example. You just don't get that type of leadership from a lot of these vets these days like that.”