An MLB 'Dream Team' for public service

An MLB 'Dream Team' for public service

They were each selected to the All-Star Game in St. Louis because of their play this summer. Now, Curtis Granderson and Ryan Zimmerman are on another prestigious team for how they performed off the field.

It's the "Dream Team for Public Service," and Granderson and Zimmerman are among 10 winners selected from 53 nominees for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, which recognizes the top athletes who have given back to their communities.

The list also includes notables like tennis standout Venus Williams, NBA All-Stars Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki, Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck and Olympian sprinter Lauryn Williams.

The group will be officially recognized in New York City at the third annual Sports Business and Philanthropy Luncheon on Dec. 8. In addition, two top winners will be honored at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 22.

Past Jefferson Awards winners include Oprah Winfrey, Alan Greenspan, Peyton Manning, Colin Powell, Lance Armstrong, Barbara Bush and Bill Gates, as well as four Supreme Court justices and seven secretaries of state.

Teams nominated 53 athletes from 10 sports, and fan voting was conducted online or via text message, with over 25,000 participating.

"These champions represent a wide swath of success both on and off the playing field, and we are very excited to be able to honor this group," said Ronnie Lott, NFL Hall of Famer and founder of All-Stars Helping Kids -- a program founded in 1989 with the mission to promote a safe, rigorous learning environment for disadvantaged children in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond.

"The real winners in this process are the millions of people that all these athletes have assisted in community service. It is an honor for us to recognize this group and assist all of them in their very noble endeavors."

Joining the Nationals' third baseman and Tigers' center fielder on the squad are Oakland Raiders defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha, MLS Houston Dynamos forward Stuart Holden, Chicago Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas, as well as Howard, Nowitzki, Tuck, Lauryn Williams and Venus Williams.

Established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard to establish a Nobel Prize for public service, the Jefferson Awards' primary purpose is "to serve as a 'Call to Action for Volunteers' in local communities," a news release stated.

The Jefferson Awards Board of Selectors is co-chaired by the majority and minority leaders of the United States Senate.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.