Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Washington Nationals' outfielder Josh Willingham was nominated as one of 30 (one from each MLB team) finalists for the Roberto Clemente Award, "...which is given every year to a baseball player to recognize his community service efforts." The Nats announced Willingham's nomination in a press release that further explained what the award recognized:
"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."
Willingham and his wife, (according again to the press release), established "The Josh Willingham Foundation" [which] is committed to providing life-changing opportunities and experiences to underserved children in the communities in which the couple has lived throughout Josh’s career, primarily focusing on their hometown of Florence, Alabama. The foundation’s first project, for instance, involved building a public playground in Florence. Since its inception, Willingham has been actively involved in the organization and hosted the first major fundraiser – a charity golf tournament in Alabama – in the fall of 2009."
Nats' team President Stan Kasten said the Nationals, "...are proud to have Josh serve as our team’s nominee for this prestigious award,":
Stan Kasten: "'Josh’s willingness to give so much of his time to the team’s community service efforts on top of his own Foundation commitments is a true testament to his generous spirit and integrity.'"
• You can vote for Josh Willingham HERE, and by voting you make yourself eligible to win a trip to the 2010 World Series. The voting ends October 8th, so support Willingham now.