Major League Baseball today announced that Miguel Cabrera was named the Detroit Tigers 2017 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club who best represents the game of Baseball 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, September 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.
Cabrera is one of the 30 Club nominees for the annual award. As an All-Star first baseman and a leader in the clubhouse, Cabrera is also one of baseball’s most caring and giving individuals. Cabrera’s dream of becoming an accomplished baseball player inspired him and his wife, Rosangel, to establish the Miguel Cabrera Foundation based on his belief that great things happen when you work hard, dream big and help others. In addition to donating $100,000 to medical relief for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, Cabrera provided seed money to launch the Tigers Play Baseball Detroit initiative, which has served over 126,000 children since 2008. Additional support includes gifts to the Detroit Police Athletic League (to support the Detroit RBI program), Clark Park Coalition in Detroit (to refurbish baseball fields) and the Miracle League of Michigan. At the ballpark, Cabrera regularly visits with participants of the Tigers Dreams Come True Program. Cabrera also hosts “Keeping Kids in the Game,” the Detroit Tigers Foundation’s annual fundraiser to benefit children’s health and youth baseball. The event has raised nearly $1.8 million since 2009.
Additionally, Cabrera and his wife Rosangel partnered with the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, to establish the Miguel Cabrera Family Scholarship Fund. The scholarship, intended for first-generation college students from Michigan or Florida, is a permanent endowment with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, initially valued at approximately $250,000.
“Roberto Clemente was one of the great humanitarians the game of baseball has ever seen. He exemplified greatness on the field and especially so off the field with his willingness to help others in need, said Elaine Lewis, Vice President of Community and Public Affairs. The Tigers are proud to nominate Miguel Cabrera for this prestigious and well deserving honor. Miguel sets the standard for community activism.”
The Roberto Clemente Award winner will be selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel that includes individuals connected to the game, including Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB Advanced Media, as well as Vera Clemente, the late Roberto’s wife. Beginning the day after the Regular Season ends, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to easily vote by clicking on the respective nominee’s name. The winner of the fan voting, which will run from Monday, October 2nd through Friday, October 6th, will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel. Additional information about fan voting will be shared via MLB.com and MLB social media channels.
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.