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Zimmerman nominated for Clemente Award

1st baseman's work with ziMS Foundation highlights commitment to community
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman's commitment to the community in Washington has earned him the honor of being the Nationals' 2016 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. It's the fourth time that Zimmerman has been selected as the team's representative for the award ('07, '12, '13, '16).

Voting is underway, and fans are encouraged to participate in the new process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award by posting any nominee's voting hashtags to MLB's official social media accounts, @MLB on Twitter and Facebook.com/MLB. Zimmerman's hashtag is #VoteZIM.

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman's commitment to the community in Washington has earned him the honor of being the Nationals' 2016 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. It's the fourth time that Zimmerman has been selected as the team's representative for the award ('07, '12, '13, '16).

Voting is underway, and fans are encouraged to participate in the new process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award by posting any nominee's voting hashtags to MLB's official social media accounts, @MLB on Twitter and Facebook.com/MLB. Zimmerman's hashtag is #VoteZIM.

Zimmerman and his family founded the ziMS Foundation in 2006 in honor of his mother, Cheryl, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995. The foundation has raised and donated more than $1.5 million to organizations dedicated to the fight against MS.

"Obviously, we're in a good situation, not only baseball-wise, but to be able to be involved in the community and try to make a difference in other ways, as well," Zimmerman said. "Kind of using professional sports as a platform to not only help or do something for a cause that's important to you, but to help other people who are going through the same stuff. I think a lot of athletes, with as much social media and publicity and stuff like that that we get, I think a lot of athletes do a really great job of using that to bring awareness to causes that are special to them."

Zimmerman's service has been recognized by a number of different accolades throughout his career. He won the Jefferson Award for public service in 2010 and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 2011 in addition to being a four-time nominee of the Roberto Clemente Award and three-time nominee for the Branch Rickey Award (2011-13).

Major League Baseball announced the 30 club nominees on Tuesday for the annual recognition of a player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Each club nominates one player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.

Wednesday marks the 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially acknowledge local club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. Clubs playing at home on Wednesday will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies. Visiting clubs will honor their nominees before another September home game.

As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.

The original "Commissioner's Award" for philanthropic service was renamed in 1973 in honor of Clemente, the Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

During the season, Zimmerman hosts families impacted by MS at Nationals Park, where they get field passes for batting practice and tickets to the game. The ziMS Foundation has spearheaded MS awareness campaigns at Nationals Park in conjunction with World MS Day.

The Nationals plan on honoring Zimmerman during a pregame ceremony on Wednesday.

"When you start something, you don't really know how it's going to go; that shows you the type of community in the D.C. area," Zimmerman said. "Virginia Beach, where I'm from, obviously they help support it. It's been over 10 years ago, so obviously the foundation has kind of spread and gotten support for the different areas. So I'm definitely proud of that."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman