Major League Baseball today announced that Joe Mauer was named the Minnesota Twins 2018 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.
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, September 5th marks the seventeenth 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.
Joe Mauer is one of the 30 Club nominees for the annual award. He and his wife Maddie annually host the Mauer and Friends Kids Classic luncheon event to benefit Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. In its fourth year the event has raised more than $1 million for the hospital's foundation. Joe brings teammates to Gillette to see patients often, serves as spokesman and annually hosts a bowling fundraiser for the Highland Friendship Club and also has supported Friends of St. Paul Baseball, an organization that helps improve baseball facilities for youth in St. Paul. Additionally, Mauer established a community ticket program called Mauer's Minnies, providing Twins game tickets to thousands of economically disadvantaged youth from Minneapolis and St. Paul. Since 2005, 25,000 youth and their families have attended a Twins game for free because of Mauer's generous contributions. He also acts as a spokesman and mentor to the MLB Player's Association's Action Team. In partnership with Volunteers of America, the Action Team enlists high school students to recruit others to volunteer in their community. Joe meets with Action Team members and mentors them on their outreach work.
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 from Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday, September 5th, until Tuesday, September 18th. 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.