Major League Baseball and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, today announced that Torii Hunter was named the Angels' 2010 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Hunter is one of the 30 Club nominees who are finalists for the national award, which is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field. Tomorrow will mark the ninth 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.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet recognizes players who best represent the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions to their Clubs. The award is named for the 12-time 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. The award pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing talented current players who truly understand the value of helping others.
Torii Hunter's passion for helping others sets him apart as one of the true ambassadors of the game. His primary charitable work is done with his own charity, The Torii Hunter Project a program founded in January of 2006. The Torii Hunter Project is a comprehensive, long-term effort to impact youth in need in various locations throughout the United States. The project has four areas of focus related to youth: Sports, Community, Education, and Wellness. Torii and his wife Katrina have personally contributed over $1 million to the project. These efforts include youth athletic facilities in Southern California and Pine Bluff, AR; assistance for children in need, homeless families, children with terminal illnesses, and other community-based and wellness support.
The Torii Hunter Project Education Initiative officially kicked off in 2008. The initiative, which is operated by the Heart of a Champion Foundation, focuses on two aspects: the Heart of a Champion character education curriculum, which is delivered to students in Anaheim, CA, Pine Bluff, AR and Minneapolis, MN and the Hunter's Hundred scholarship program, which will provide college scholarships to 100 students from Anaheim, Pine Bluff and Las Vegas, NV over the next four years. The goal of the initiative is to raise five million dollars over the next four years to fund both programs. Reaching this goal will enable The Torii Hunter Project to provide the Heart of a Champion program to over 50,000 students, and to fund college scholarships for at least 100 high school graduates.
"Torii's impact goes far beyond the game of baseball," stated Angels community relations coordinator Lindsay McHolm. "His most impressive accomplishments are those that have come away from the baseball field, in the community and in the lives of children. He exemplifies what it means to give back to the community that so strongly supports him."
"Being nominated for this award is very special to me," Hunter stated. "Roberto Clemente is a hero of mine not just because of his incredible talent, but because of his strong character and his passion for helping others. I am truly honored to be considered for this incredible award."
The distinguished list of national Roberto Clemente Award recipients includes 13 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
1971 Willie Mays* 1984 Ron Guidry 1997 Eric Davis
1972 Brooks Robinson* 1985 Don Baylor 1998 Sammy Sosa
1973 Al Kaline* 1986 Garry Maddox 1999 Tony Gwynn*
1974 Willie Stargell* 1987 Rick Sutcliffe 2000 Al Leiter
1975 Lou Brock* 1988 Dale Murphy 2001 Curt Schilling
1976 Pete Rose 1989 Gary Carter* 2002 Jim Thome
1977 Rod Carew* 1990 Dave Stewart 2003 Jamie Moyer
1978 Greg Luzinski 1991 Harold Reynolds 2004 Edgar Martinez
1979 Andre Thornton 1992 Cal Ripken, Jr.* 2005 John Smoltz
1980 Phil Niekro* 1993 Barry Larkin 2006 Carlos Delgado
1981 Steve Garvey 1994 Dave Winfield* 2007 Craig Biggio
1982 Ken Singleton 1995 Ozzie Smith* 2008 Albert Pujols
1983 Cecil Cooper 1996 Kirby Puckett* 2009 Derek Jeter
- Member of Baseball Hall of Fame
Fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national award recipient by visiting www.chevy.com/clemente, powered by MLB.com and created specifically for the Roberto Clemente Award platform, from September 7 to October 8 to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2010 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.
The winner of the fan poll will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel, which includes Vera Clemente, wife of the late Hall of Famer; Commissioner Selig; MLB Network analyst and former Roberto Clemente Award winner Harold Reynolds; MLB Network analyst, TBS broadcaster and former Roberto Clemente Award winner John Smoltz; Hall of Famer and ESPN broadcaster Joe Morgan; former All-Star catcher and FOX broadcaster Tim McCarver; and MLB.com senior correspondent Hal Bodley.
MLB celebrates Roberto Clemente Day as part of the broader "MLB Going Beyond" platform, which strives to integrate community service and the importance of giving back.