September 12, 2019
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Major League Baseball today announced that Kevin Kiermaier was named the Tampa Bay Rays 2019 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, the most prestigious individual award for major league players.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a major league player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Every year, each MLB club nominates a player to be considered for the award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. Wednesday, September 18 marks the 18th 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.
Kiermaier is one of the 30 club nominees for the annual award. Throughout his career with the Rays, Kevin has established himself as a leader on the field and in the community. The Rays center fielder leads by example through his hard work at the ballpark and dedication to improving the lives of youth in the Tampa Bay area.
“This award means the world to me,” said Kiermaier. “I love seeing all the smiles and faces of people who I have helped and I plan on continuing to do my part off the field and in the community.”
Kevin is a strong supporter of the Children’s Dream Fund, a foundation based in St. Petersburg that makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. For the past five years, Kevin has participated in Rays on the Runway, a charity fashion show benefiting the Children’s Dream Fund, featuring Rays players and their wives walking the fashion runway with “Dream Children.” Over the past five years, Rays on the Runway has raised over $500,000 to help make these dreams come true.
This year, furthering his support of the Children’s Dream Fund, Kevin donated $25,000 and established “Kiermaier’s Kids” in order to fully fund dreams for five ill children. Through his donation, Kiermaier’s Kids and their families visited Disney World and Give Kids The World, setting sail on a Disney cruise and receiving a complete car makeover.
Kevin is also one of the team’s biggest supporters of the Rays Tuesday’s Champion Program. Every Tuesday home game, the Rays host a child from the Children’s Dream Fund or Make-a-Wish Foundation to give ill children and their families a once-in-a-lifetime baseball experience. Kevin signs autographs, take pictures and interacts with the Tuesday’s Champion to ensure their day is one they will never forget.
Through his community efforts, Kevin has improved the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses throughout the Tampa Bay area, showing how a strong leader can make a difference on the field and in the community. Kevin will be recognized with a pregame on-field ceremony at Tropicana Field on Friday, September 20. In addition, as a result of his nomination, Kevin selected the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay as the charity of his choice to receive a $7,500 donation.
“Roberto Clemente was a true humanitarian. He left an eternal legacy, because of both his performance on the field and as an advocate for Latin people around the world,” said Rays President Matt Silverman. “Kevin consistently impresses us both on and off the field with his uplifting, hard-working and giving character. Our organization is extremely proud of his contributions to the Tampa Bay community, and we’re thrilled for him to be our nominee.”
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including 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 and MLB Goodwill Ambassador). Beginning today, 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 until the end of the season on Sunday, September 29. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel. Fans can vote by visiting: 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.