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Schumaker honored as Clemente Award nominee

CHICAGO -- First-year Reds outfielder Skip Schumaker was named as a finalist for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet. Major League Baseball announced the 30 finalists on Tuesday.

Schumaker is among 30 finalists, one from each team, for the honor bestowed to the MLB player that best represents the game on and off the field through positive contributions in sportsmanship and community involvement.

He looks to join Pete Rose (1976) and Barry Larkin (1993) as the third Reds recipient of the honor, the winner of which will be announced during the World Series.

"He's just one of those guys that gets it," Reds manager Bryan Price said, "understands the whole idea of being able to provide certain things through his connection with Major League Baseball and his celebrity that can raise awareness, raise funds and individually affect people that are struggling, in a positive way.

"I've been very impressed with Skip for a lot more than just his baseball acumen."

Initially known as the Commissioner's Award, the name was altered in 1973 in light of Clemente's tragic death in a plane crash while en route to aid earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The award's thesis captures the understanding of the importance of 'helping others.'

Schumaker's charity largely extends to children. He's led monthly hospital visits to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and contributed to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Schumaker is also an advocate of the Jessie Rees Foundation, which supports children fighting cancer.

"He's been great," Price said. "He's been very involved in the Reds community and in fundraising and being involved in the hospital visitations for the childrens' portion of the hospital [visits]. He gets it."

Out for the season after shoulder surgery last Thursday to repair a torn left labrum, Schumaker wasn't with the Reds in Chicago upon the announcement, but said in a statement: "I'm honored to use the platform I've been given to have an impact on kids and the community. I plan to make the most of this opportunity."

Fans can vote for Schumaker at until Oct. 6. The winner of the fan tally will account for one vote among the panel of baseball dignitaries -- Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of Clemente, Vera Clemente; and representatives from Chevrolet, and other media outlets.

The versatile Schumaker has played five positions in 83 games this year, and was batting .235/.287/.308 with 14 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs before his season-ending surgery last week.

Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for
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