This press release from the Yankees and Major League Baseball:
Johnny Damon today was named the New York Yankeesâ€™ recipient of the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award. He is one of 30 Major League Club nominees for the national 2008 Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who combines outstanding skills on the baseball field with devoted work in the community.
The Roberto Clemente Award recognizes those players who best represent the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions to their teams. The award is named for Clemente, a 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who died on New Yearâ€™s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. This award perpetuates Clementeâ€™s legacy and character by recognizing current-day players who truly understand the value of helping others.
Fans are encouraged to participate in the selection of the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award. From September 3 through October 5, 2008, fans can log on to www.chevy.com/clemente and vote for one of the 30 club nominees.
Damon, 34, is a national spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs designed to ease the burdens of severely injured servicemen, servicewomen and their families by smoothing the transition back to civilian life. Rallying as many teammates as possible to join him, Damon is a regular visitor to many veterans hospitals, including Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington D.C., and the Tampa VA Hospital, where veterans with traumatic brain injuries are brought for long-term rehabilitation.
Damon also serves as the Yankeesâ€™ Home Run Captain for the Childrenâ€™s Health Fund, which brings quality health care to the nationâ€™s most medically disadvantaged children in rural and urban areas. He donates money to the organization for each home run the Yankees hit as a team in both the regular season and postseason.
In 2006, he established the Johnny Damon Foundation, which assists local and national programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for disadvantaged and at-risk children. He hosts the annual Johnny Damon Celebrity Golf Classic, along with the â€œJohnny Jamâ€ reception, which includes live musical performances, comedy routines and live and silent auctions that raise money for Orlando, Fla., based charities.
During this past offseason, Johnny and his wife, Michelle, were goodwill ambassadors in a U.S. State Department sponsored trip around the world. While visiting Thailand, his motherâ€™s native country, Johnny and his family shared in a luncheon for more than 100 orphans at the Rajvithi Home for Girls. Damon met with children from the International School of Bangkok, instructing them on the game of baseball while also encouraging them to stay in school and stressing the importance of education.
Damon was honored with the Joan Payson Memorial Award for Community Service from the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America in January 2008. His community efforts have also included visits to young cancer patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, as well as supporting the St. Josephâ€™s School for the Blind with appearances and fundraising. He is also a special contributor to Tanglewood Acres, a Rockland County, N.Y., center supporting children and adults suffering from mental retardation and developmental disabilities.
The fan vote winner will be tallied as one vote among those cast by the selection panel, which includes Vera Clemente, wife of the late Hall of Famer, and Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. Participating fans automatically will be registered for a chance to win a trip to Game Three of the 2008 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be announced.
If you’re so inspired, click over to that site and vote for Johnny. I wouldn’t tell you this unless I believed it, but he is deserving of this award. Johnny makes a legitimate effort to reach out to people in need because he wants to, not because it makes him look good.