(Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire)
Curtis Granderson was named the Mets’ 2015 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.
Granderson is one of 30 nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet, 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,” according to the nomination announcement.
While a member of the Detroit Tigers in 2007, Granderson founded the Grand Kids Foundation to inspire and encourage positive youth development via education, physical fitness and nutrition – providing tools and resources for societal advancement.
Throughout the year, Granderson hosts a number of annual community programs in New York, Detroit, Port St. Lucie and his hometown of Chicago – Home of Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC, his alma mater – in which he personally donated $5 million to develop the state-of-the-art facility which supports inner city youth. The $5 million donation is the largest known one-time donation by a professional athlete.
The stadium is home to the school’s baseball program as well as 38 area little leagues. In total, 10,000 inner-city kids use the stadium year-round.
Granderson continually brings local-area children to experience Mets’ home games through his various programs.
Granderson will be recognized on the field prior to the Mets’ home game with the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.
Clubs playing at home on September 16th will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies, while visiting Clubs 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 official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.
Beginning Wednesday, fans can vote for the award on ChevyBaseball.com. Voting concludes on October 9th, and the winner will be announced during the World Series.
The concept of honoring players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award,” but 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. Each September since 2002, Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day.