MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau is no longer with the Twins after being traded to the Pirates on Aug. 31, but he still has a chance to win an award with his former club, as he's Minnesota's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
It's the third time in his career he's been nominated for the award, which is given each year to a player who "best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement."
"I think for what he's done for our community up in Minnesota and how much time he's spent raising money for the Twins Community Fund and his foundations he's attached to, he's definitely the guy we recommend," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Hopefully, it's an award he will get. He's definitely deserving. He's probably one of the better players we've had in our organization when it comes to community service."
Tuesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted on the 30th anniversary of his passing in 1972 to keep alive Clemente's spirit of giving. Voting runs from Tuesday through Oct. 6 at chevybaseball.com as fans help decide which of those 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.
Morneau, 32, spent 11 seasons with the Twins until being traded to Pittsburgh on Aug. 31 for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named.
He was not only a presence on the field, as evidenced by his four All-Star Game appearances and his American League MVP Award in 2006, but also was very involved in the local community.
The first baseman was active with several charities, including the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, the Como Zoo and Conservatory, Ronald McDonald House, Fields for Kids and the Salvation Army. Morneau's Mounties also provided more than 10,000 Twins tickets to the families of the U.S. military dating back to 2009.
Morneau hosted his fifth annual Casino Night this year on June 2, which benefited the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation.
Morneau taped a video thanking Twins fans for their support over the years and expressed gratitude for the honor in a special pregame video that aired before Sunday's game against the Rays at Target Field.
"He's just one of the good guys in the game," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said about Morneau the day he was traded. "A good human being that's involved and committed to the community. He's in the community. He's been a model citizen."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.