Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that Oakland A’s pitcher, Liam Hendriks and Miami Marlins second baseman, Dee Gordon, were named 2017 nominees for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award of their respective teams.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Each Club nominates one current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. Wednesday, Sept. 6th marks the sixteenth 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.
Hendriks and his wife, Kristi, are working with Big League Impact and Striking Out Poverty with the mission of ending hunger and poverty in the Dominican Republic. Hendriks has raised money through sales of the Striking Out Poverty t-shirt by Athletes Brand and an online fundraiser, which currently results in a donation of more than $500 from supporters each time he records a strikeout. Hendriks also personally pledges $100 per strikeout and $200 per walk. He also supports Players for Pits, a rescue committed to saving pit bulls and pit bull mix-breed dogs, as well as Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), Paw Town Recue, Remember Me Thursday, the Petco Foundation, Athletes for Animals, and Mission K-9 Rescue.
Dee Gordon hosts local children at Marlins Park as part of his Flash of Hope program. This program is in partnership with the state attorney’s office three years ago to support children who have been affected by domestic violence. He also partnered with Food for the Hungry’s Striking Out Poverty initiative to support nine impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic during a mission trip in January 2017. Gordon continued his support via a Striking Out Poverty t-shirt by Athletes Brand and an online fundraiser, which currently results in a donation of more than $400 from supporters each time he steals a base. Gordon also personally pledges $200 per stolen base. He also supports the Boys & Girls Club of Highlands County, where Dee hosts an annual Christmas party and basketball tournament for locals
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. Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day each September since 2002.