Denard Span named Nationals' nominee for Clemente Award

Fans Can Vote on ChevyBaseball.com for the Winner

Major League Baseball and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of MLB, today announced that Denard Span was named the Washington Nationals' 2015 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.

Wednesday, September 16th marks the fourteenth annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially recognize local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Span is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award, 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. The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.

During pregame ceremonies on Thursday, September 17 before the Nationals play the Miami Marlins, Span's guest and past Span's Fans participant Drew Jackson will be accepting the award on Span's behalf for his ongoing commitment to single-parent families.

Raised by his mother, Wanda, Span recognizes the dedication and sacrifices single parents make each day for their families. For three years, he has used his Span's Fans program to create memorable family experiences at Nationals Park while offering optimism and support. In 2014, Span started the Denard Span Foundation to provide hope and encouragement to single parents while empowering them to raise confident children within strong families and communities. The foundation envisions communities where single parents, regardless of gender, and their children are able to reach their full potential.

"We have had the pleasure of working with Denard the last three seasons on initiatives that have helped him - and the Nationals - make a lasting impact on our communities," said Shawn Bertani, senior director of community relations for the Nationals. "His authentic generosity has made him a distinctive ambassador for youth throughout the region."

"I always told myself when I got in a position to help, that's what I wanted to do," Span told MLB's Jacob Emert. "I wanted to help people that I could relate to, something that when I'm talking to these families and these kids, I'm talking from my heart. I might not have grown up [in a situation] as bad as some of these other families, but I can still relate to coming from [a home with] one parent and seeing one parent struggle."

 

The distinguished list of past Roberto Clemente Award winners includes 16 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

1971 - Willie Mays+**

1972 - Brooks Robinson+**

1973 - Al Kaline+

1974 - Willie Stargell+

1975 - Lou Brock+

1976 - Pete Rose

1977 - Rod Carew+

1978 - Greg Luzinski

1979 - Andre Thornton

1980 - Phil Niekro+

1981 - Steve Garvey

1982 - Ken Singleton

1983 - Cecil Cooper

1984 - Ron Guidry

1985 - Don Baylor

1986 - Garry Maddox

1987 - Rick Sutcliffe

1988 - Dale Murphy

1989 - Gary Carter+

1990 - Dave Stewart

1991 - Harold Reynolds

1992 - Cal Ripken, Jr.+

1993 - Barry Larkin+

1994 - Dave Winfield+

1995 - Ozzie Smith+

1996 - Kirby Puckett+

1997 - Eric Davis

1998 - Sammy Sosa

1999 - Tony Gwynn+

2000 - Al Leiter

2001 - Curt Schilling

2002 - Jim Thome

2003 - Jamie Moyer

2004 - Edgar Martinez

2005 - John Smoltz+

2006 - Carlos Delgado

2007 - Craig Biggio+

2008 - Albert Pujols

2009 - Derek Jeter

2010 - Tim Wakefield

2011 - David Ortiz

2012 - Clayton Kershaw

2013 - Carlos Beltran

2014 - Paul Konerko *

2014 - Jimmy Rollins *

+ Member of The National Baseball Hall of Fame

* Co-winner

** Originally known as the Commissioner's Award (prior to 1973)

Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet by visiting ChevyBaseball.com , which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends on Friday, October 9th, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2015 World Series, where the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.

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. 

The concept of honoring players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the "Commissioner's Award," but was renamed 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.