Major League Baseball and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, today announced that Ryan Zimmerman was named the Nationals' 2012 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Today marks the eleventh annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially recognize local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Zimmerman is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. The Award is named for the 15-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Zimmerman’s commitment to the community is best illustrated through his work with the ziMS Foundation, which he founded in 2006, his first full season in the Major Leagues. The ziMS Foundation aims to raise money for multiple sclerosis awareness and programs benefitting those afflicted with the disease. Serving as president, Zimmerman is actively involved in and donates his time, money and image to promoting the foundation. This year the foundation expects to surpass $1 million in donations for MS charities and research. The foundation holds several fundraising events annually, including ziMS Funfest, the Golf and Gala and the popular Night at the Park held at Nationals Park. Zimmerman’s community outreach also includes visits to local children’s hospitals several times each season.
Since becoming the first draft pick in Washington Nationals history in 2005, Zimmerman has been a standout on and off the field. He is well-decorated for his contributions in the community, having won the 2011 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award and the 2009 Jefferson Award for public service, as well as being selected as the Nationals nominee for the Roberto Clemente in Award in 2007 and the Branch Rickey Award in 2011 and 2012. In addition to honoring Zimmerman as part of a special on-field ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, video tributes celebrating Clemente’s career and dedication to helping others will run throughout the evening.
“We are so proud to have Ryan represent the Nationals,” Lara Potter, Nationals Vice President of Communications said. “His strength of character, dedication to helping others and passion for the game truly illustrate the ideals set forth by Roberto Clemente.”
The distinguished list of national Roberto Clemente Award recipients includes 13 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
| 1971 - Willie Mays* || 1985 - Don Baylor || 1998 - Sammy Sosa |
| 1972 - Brooks Robinson* || 1986 - Garry Maddox || 1999 - Tony Gwynn* |
| 1973 - Al Kaline* || 1987 - Rick Sutcliffe || 2000 - Al Leiter |
| 1974 - Willie Stargell* || 1988 - Dale Murphy || 2001 - Curt Schilling |
| 1975 - Lou Brock* || 1989 - Gary Carter* || 2002 - Jim Thome |
| 1976 - Pete Rose || 1990 - Dave Stewart || 2003 - Jamie Moyer |
| 1977 - Rod Carew* || 1991 - Harold Reynolds || 2004 - Edgar Martinez |
| 1978 - Greg Luzinski || 1992 - Cal Ripken, Jr.* || 2005 - John Smoltz |
| 1979 - Andre Thornton || 1993 - Barry Larkin || 2006 - Carlos Delgado |
| 1980 - Phil Niekro* || 1994 - Dave Winfield* || 2007 - Craig Biggio |
| 1981 - Steve Garvey || 1995 - Ozzie Smith* || 2008 - Albert Pujols |
| 1982 - Ken Singleton || 1996 - Kirby Puckett* || 2009 - Derek Jeter |
| 1983 - Cecil Cooper || 1997 - Eric Davis || 2010 - Tim Wakefield |
| 1984 - Ron Guidry || || 2011 - David Ortiz |
*Member of Baseball Hall of Fame
Beginning today, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the award recipient by visiting MLB.com/ClementeAward to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 14th, and the winner of the fan poll will receive one vote among those cast by a selection panel.
All Clubs playing at home today will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies, while each visiting Club will honor their nominees before another September home game. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and the official dugout lineup cards.