Major League Baseball announced that Chad Pinder was named the Athletics 2018 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB. He will be recognized on the field prior to the start of Friday's 7:05 p.m. game versus the Texas Rangers.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club 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 current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character. Wednesday, Sept. 5th marks the 17th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially acknowledge local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. 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.
Pinder is one of the 30 Club nominees for the annual award. Since joining the Oakland Athletics and making his Major League debut with the team in 2016, he has worked to make a positive impact throughout Oakland and the East Bay.
"Chad's passion for giving back started while he was an undergrad at Virginia Tech and has deepened through his professional career," said A's President Dave Kaval. "His commitment to the children at the School of Imagination makes him a true hero in our community. We are proud he is representing the Athletics for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award."
"It is an honor to be nominated for this prestigious award," said Pinder. "Giving back to the community is an important part of what we do as neighbors and friends, and I'm fortunate to be able to work with such a wonderful group of kids at the School of Imagination. Roberto Clemente was a shining example of what we can accomplish by getting involved in our community, and I am proud to help amplify his legacy throughout Oakland and the East Bay."
Pinder and his fiancée Taylor have teamed up with the School of Imagination in Dublin, California. Founded in 2011, the school is committed to bringing out the extraordinary in every child by offering groundbreaking early-childhood education programs, cutting-edge intervention services, and a full-inclusion preschool that empowers special needs children to excel along with their typical peers. The School of Imagination gives all children the foundation for success in learning and life.
Even through the busy Major League Baseball schedule, Pinder is dedicated to visiting the school and its students every month. He has become a friendly and familiar friend to the students at the School of Imagination. During his visits, Pinder - along with teammates he encourages to join him - bring A's goodies and joins the students for reading time, games - like dress-up and toy dinosaurs, and recess on the playground.
During the 2018 season, he coordinated to have the School of Imagination serve as the A's Nonprofit Partner of the Game. This allowed fans to learn about the school and its work with young children and make donations directly to the organization. He also held a pregame autograph session, with all proceeds benefitting the School of Imagination.
Pinder is also a constant at A's community events, participating in events like Game Night which raised more than $90,000 for the A's Community Fund; hospital visits to deliver Starlight Gowns to pediatric cancer patients; and distributing shoes, backpacks, T-shirts and A's hats to kids from the M. Robinson Baker YMCA.
His passion for giving back to the community is nothing new, however. While a student-athlete at Virginia Tech, Chad was inspired by the baseball program's "19 Ways" program. The players-led campaign challenged the members of the baseball team to find 19 events during the academic year that helped make a difference in the community. The program provided student-athletes with an unbelievable opportunity to make a difference for the less fortunate. In the past, the 19 Ways program has allowed Virginia Tech to bring awareness to great causes, raise money for those in need, and brighten someone's day.
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, who will be announced during the 2018 World Series, will be selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel that includes individuals connected to the game. The blue ribbon panel includes Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB.com, as well as Vera Clemente (the late Roberto's wife & MLB Goodwill Ambassador). Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote from Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday, Sept. 5, until Tuesday, Sept. 18. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel. Fans are encouraged to vote by visiting the following link: mlb.com/clemente21.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the "Commissioner's Award." The recognition was renamed to the "Roberto Clemente Award" in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day each September since 2002.