(Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire)
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira will be the team’s 20145 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.
Wednesday, September 16th will be the 14th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which Major League Baseball established to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize the nominees of each team.
Teixeira 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.
Teixeira has been involved in charitable endeavors since he came to the Major Leagues. In 2006, while he was playing for the Texas Rangers, Teixeira and his wife, Leigh, established the Mark Teixeira Charitable Fund, which awarded several scholarships to students from multiple high schools in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
2009 was a big year for Teixeira, as he won the World Series that year with the Yankees and did a lot of noteworthy charity work. Teixeira served as a spokesman for the National Foundation of Cancer Research through the organization’s “Strike Out Sun Damage” program. He endowed a scholarship at his alma mater, Mt. St. Joseph High School in Baltimore to honor his friend, Nick Liberatore, who passed away in a car accident while they were in high school together. Teixeira also established the Mark C. Teixeira Athletic Scholarship Fund at Georgia Tech, where he went to college.
While with the Yankees, Teixeira has been an active supporter of Harlem RBI. The nonprofit is located in East Harlem, and it provides more than 1,700 girls and boys with year-round academic, sports, and enrichment programs. In 2010, he became a member of their Board of Directors, and made a $100,000 donation to their college preparation program. In 2011, he was honored at their “Bid for Kids” gala, which raised $2.25 million. Since then, for the past four years, he has chaired the event and has raised a combined $14.8 million.
In 2011, he donated $1 million to Harlem RBI and created his own “Dream Team 25” campaign to call on his fans to raise additional funds for its partnership with DREAM charter school to construct a 450-seat public charter school facility, community center, 87 units of low-income housing, and a rebuilt public park.
Teixeira is the co-chair of the Harlem RBI’s $20 million Capital Campaign and the chair of its Home Run Leadership Council. He also works with Major League Baseball to connect fellow players in support of RBI programs in their cities.
Teixeira has made personal visits to the school, reading to students and providing baseball instruction to them. Since he became involved with the organization, they have expanded their efforts to Mott Haven in the South Bronx, with special attention paid to the Paterson Houses.
This year, he organized his Yankees teammates Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge along with Harlem RBI youth.
The Yankees are scheduled to recognize Teixeira’s Clemente Award nomination in an on-field ceremony on Thursday, September 24th at Yankee Stadium prior to their game against the Chicago White Sox. That is the Yankees’ first game back home from their nine-game road trip.
The only Yankees who has ever won the Roberto Clemente Award are Ron Guidry, in 1984, and Derek Jeter, in 2009.
Yankees broadcaster Ken Singleton won it in 1982, while he was a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, Wednesday, September 16th, 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.