ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price understands the importance of giving back to his community. Accordingly, he has put his time and money into helping others in his hometown, Murfreesboro, Tenn., as well as those in the Tampa Bay area.
Because of those efforts, Price is the Rays' nominee for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award.
Tuesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted on the 30th anniversary of Clemente's passing in 1972 to keep alive his spirit of giving. Voting runs from Sept. 17 through Oct. 6 at chevybaseball.com as fans help decide which of the 30 club winners will receive this prestigious recognition. The nominees were chosen based on their dedication to giving back to the community as well as their outstanding ability on the field.
In Price's younger days, he would often talk to his father, Bonnie, about his future.
"We decided that if we were in a position to give back, we would," Price said.
Price went on to become the No. 1 overall pick of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, and he received the accompanying trimmings. Despite the fame and the new income bracket, he remained well grounded and remembered the talks he'd had with his father.
Thus, in 2008, he and his father began Project One Four, a charitable organization in Murfreesboro that supports programs and organizations that provide opportunities for youth to learn life skills in a safe and supportive environment. The mission statement of the charity is to make a difference in the lives of youth and their families.
Among Project One Four's endeavors has been to give away computers, backpacks and clothes to youngsters in need.
"I meet a lot of the people," Price said. "I've gotten to know some of them. I get to meet quite a few of them when we go out and deliver the computers, or give the clothes and the backpacks and stuff like that."
When asked if he could appreciate how cool a kid must feel to receive a computer or backpack from a Major Leaguer, Price smiled.
"Yeah, that's the way I look at it," he said. "It's the same way I kind of view Twitter [@DAVIDprice14]. It's easy for me to do this, and it's a way to touch people's lives. That's pretty important."
Price believes that giving back to the youth of a community also brings large returns to his family.
"You get hugs and you see how happy they are," he said, "especially when we give away winter clothes and they don't have any of those. It gets pretty cold in Murfreesboro and in [nearby] Nashville, as well. For those kids to have jackets and warm clothes to go to school -- that's pretty important."
Price doesn't know the exact number of kids Project One Four has reached, but he knows the program has made an impact.
"We give away quite a few backpacks with clothes to the kids," he said. "Schools will tell us how many kids need them, and that's what we try to provide."
Price's father runs the charity, and his brothers Jackie and Damon are active with the organization as well.
In addition to his own charity, Price has consistently worked with the Rays' many charities and community service initiatives.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.