Last year's winner was the Kansas City Royals' Mike Sweeney
. He and his wife, Shara, donated $100,000 to help fund the building of a baseball park in Kansas City for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI). Sweeney also supports numerous charities and institutions, including Children's Mercy Hospital, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and "Life Teen," an international Catholic ministry dedicated to helping teenagers.
Included among this year's 30 nominees -- one from each team as selected by that club's players -- are two two-time winners, Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz and Chicago White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome, the latter having won in both of his previous cities, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Voting takes place from now until Sunday on MLB.com and MLBPLAYERS.com. Fans are asked to select one player from each of Major League Baseball's six divisions. The six finalists will be voted on by Major League Baseball players as part of their annual Players Choice Awards
balloting Sept. 12-13 at all the ballparks. The Players Choice Awards, which includes Overall Player of the Year and Outstanding Player, Pitcher, Rookie and Comeback Player awards in each league, will be announced after the World Series.
Each Players Choice Awards winner will designate a charity to receive a grant ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 from the Players Trust, a non-profit foundation created and administered by the players.
Here are the 2006 Marvin Miller Man of the Year nominees:
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Baltimore Orioles: Brian Roberts
Brian is closely tied to the University of Maryland Hospital for Children. Roberts had open-heart surgery when he was five and has looked to help children with similar ailments, with 2006 marking his third year of involvement. Brian donates countless hours to visiting children recovering from heart surgery in the Hospital. There, he talks with patients and parents and signs autographs. Looking to do more, Roberts created Brian's Baseball Bash, which includes an ESPN Zone game card, dinner and dessert, a chance to meet Orioles players, get autographs, receive Orioles giveaways, and participate in silent and live auctions for charity.
Boston Red Sox: Tim Wakefield
Tim has been renowned for his dedication to the Boston community throughout his tenure with the Red Sox. Established in 1998, the Wakefield Warriors program brings patients from the Franciscan Children's Hospital to Fenway Park before each Tuesday home game to watch batting practice, visit with Tim and enjoy the game. Tim also works with the Space Coast Early Intervention Center in his native Melbourne, Fla. Tim has donated and raised money for the pre-school and therapeutic program so that special-needs and non-special-needs children may continue to benefit from the Center. As a partner in Garth Brooks' Teammates for Kids, Tim raises money for each strikeout and win he records during the 2006 season.
New York Yankees: Mike Mussina
Mike established the Mike Mussina Foundation in 2000 in his hometown of Lycoming County, Pa., to benefit local children and child-related charities. Through the Foundation, Mike has directed the College Bound Program, which grants a college scholarship to a graduating senior from 12 local high schools. Always concerned with helping young ballplayers, Mike donates his time to the International Board of Directors for Little League Baseball. He and the foundation also have donated more than $300,000 to Little League Baseball. Mike is also involved with the American Red Cross, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Major League Baseball Players Trust's Buses for Baseball program.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Brian Meadows
Brian sets an example for community service. He has not forgotten his roots, contributing to the March of Dimes in his home state of Alabama throughout the year. The March of Dimes raises funds for infants to prevent birth defects, premature birth, and infant deaths. Brian also is among the big leaguers tied to the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, which helps raise money for the benefit of various children's charities. Brian donates money to the foundation for each game appearance, strikeout and save that he records throughout the season.
Toronto Blue Jays: Roy Halladay
On multiple occasions each season, Roy and his wife, Brandy, help patients at the Hospital for Sick Children by bringing them to Rogers Centre to enjoy a game as their personal guests. On each occasion, Roy takes time to get to know the children and their families, a perk of his job as he sees it. Roy enjoys imparting some cheerfulness to the families by inviting them into a luxury box for the game. During the 2006 season, Roy donated $100,000 to the Jays Care Foundation, which looks to support programs, groups and activities that improve the quality life of youngsters in need.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Chicago White Sox: Jim Thome
Jim has continued his extensive community work in his new city. He is actively involved with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, serving as a White Sox team representative. In this role, Jim speaks to fans about the importance of raising money for prostate cancer research. He has helped by making public service announcements, donating proceeds from autographed merchandise and participating in events. Additionally, Jim was among the White Sox players who joined with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for less fortunate Chicago area natives. Jim is a two-time winner of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award (2001 and 2004).
Cleveland Indians: Jake Westbrook
Jake has sought to help less fortunate people throughout the Cleveland community by his participation in the Feed the Need program. On the third Friday of each month, he volunteers to prepare, cook and serve warm meals to underprivileged people in the community. Jake also sets aside time to be interviewed by aspiring high school journalists in the Cleveland area as part of the Indians' Tribe Reporter for a Day program.
Detroit Tigers: Carlos Guillen
Carlos gives his time, effort and money to the community in both Detroit and his native Venezuela. The shortstop raises money for medical clinics in poverty-stricken areas of Venezuela. These clinics serve children with life-threatening illnesses and physical limitations and victims of abuse. Carlos also purchased 50 tickets for Hispanic children to attend "Fiesta Tigres!" A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Aurelio Rodriguez Scholarship Fund.
Kansas City Royals: Mike Sweeney
Mike and his wife, Shara, established the Sweeney Family Foundation to share three basic themes: love, family and youth. Through the Foundation, the Sweeneys support youth ministries throughout the Kansas City area. Every season, Mike invites numerous youth religious groups to Kaufman Stadium to enjoy a Royals game. He also hosts a baseball camp in association with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Baseball. Mike and Shara support the Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI) initiative to help support the involvement of urban youth in baseball. As a spokesman for the Enjoy the Game program, Mike promotes good sportsmanship and teamwork. He won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2005.
Minnesota Twins: Brad Radke
Brad and his wife, Heather, are both heavily involved in the Minnesota and Florida communities. They raise funds through the Brad and Heather Radke Family Foundation and contribute more than $100,000 annually to organizations like the Youth Performance Company, Hennepin County Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the American Cancer Society, among others. Brad's Bunch, an extremely successful program that provides Twins tickets to thousands of disadvantaged children in the Upper Midwest, is in its seventh year. In addition, Brad serves as spokesperson for the National Center for Fathering's Father of the Year Essay Contest.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Tim Salmon
A longtime fixture in the Orange County community, Tim and his wife, Marci, have established the Tim Salmon Foundation, which donates $100 for each run Tim drives in during the season. The foundation donates the money to the Laurel House, a residential home for teen runaways, and Family Solutions, a charity for disadvantaged children which Tim often visits. Additionally, he created the Tim Salmon Charity Golf Tournament to support these organizations. Tim also provides 100 tickets per game in the Fish Bowl section at Angel Stadium for youth and charity groups.
Oakland Athletics: Barry Zito
Barry recruited dozens of fellow players to join the Strikeouts for Troops program that he initiated in 2005. The program is designed to benefit war-wounded troops being treated at Walter Reed, Bethesda Naval and other military hospitals. The funds provide support for injured soldiers, as well as travel and housing expenses for patients' families. The program continued through the 2006 season, and Barry increased his donations to $200 for every strikeout he records. Barry also donated $500 to the fund for each strikeout recorded by a pitcher from both the American and National Leagues during the 2006 All-Star Game.
Seattle Mariners: Raul Ibanez
During what has been a career year for him in 2006, Raul finds time to work with the disadvantaged citizens of the Seattle area. In July, Raul teamed with fellow Mariners outfielder Jeremy Reed to host the Cystic Fibrosis Mariners Care Golf Tournament, in conjunction with the Washington Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Raul is also a member of the Foundation's Millennium $1 Million Club, along with former Mariner Jay Buhner, responsible for helping to raise more than $1 million for patients with cystic fibrosis. Additionally, he works closely with the Major League Baseball Players Trust and Volunteers of America as part of the Seattle Action Team, a branch of a national initiative that trains teens on ways to volunteer and how to recruit peers to become involved in community service.
Texas Rangers: Brad Wilkerson
Brad Wilkerson Field, in Brad's hometown of Owensboro, Ky., was opened over the past year, thanks in large part to Brad's $20,000 donation to the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club. Brad also hosts a charity golf tournament and auction in Florida to benefit the Cliff Hagen Boys & Girls Club, as well as the Owensboro Family YMCA, the local Boys & Girls Club and First Tee, a non-profit golf initiative. Additionally, Brad sponsors a Little League team, provides holiday gifts to families, and spends time meeting with and mentoring children in Owensboro.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Atlanta Braves: John Smoltz
A two-time recipient (2002 and 2003) of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award and winner of the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award, John continues to help build a better community in Atlanta. He has partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to create the Strike Out Hunger program, which helps eliminate hunger in the Atlanta area. Since 2001, the Kings Ridge Christian School, which promotes non-denominational Christian values, has been the beneficiary of more than $1 million from the John and Dyan Smoltz Foundation.
Florida Marlins: Dontrelle Willis
Dontrelle understands the community responsibility that comes with his on-field success. He has joined fellow left-handed pitcher Barry Zito in the Strikeout for Troops program, which benefits soldiers undergoing treatment at hospitals. He also sponsors A Day with Dontrelle, in which youngsters with life-threatening illnesses spend the day with him at the ballpark. Dontrelle donates time and money to youth baseball programs in South Florida. His actions include sponsoring Dontrelle Willis Mini-Marlins T-ball, in which he serves as host to youth teams at the ballpark.
New York Mets: Carlos Delgado
Throughout his career, Carlos has been concerned with improving the lives of children in Puerto Rico. In 2001, he started the Extra Bases foundation and has personally contributed more than $500,000. Through Extra Bases, Delgado has supported various groups from shelters to baseball academies. Carlos combines with corporate sponsors to donate $2,400 to Extra Bases for each home run hit. He has raised more than $75,000 this year, and more than $1 million since the foundation's inception. In May, Carlos worked with the Mets in the team's "School is Amazing" program to promote the importance of a good education.
Philadelphia Phillies: David Dellucci
A native of Louisiana, David was particularly affected by the damage left by Hurricane Katrina, especially with his immediate family still living in Baton Rouge. After donating money to the Red Cross, David established the Catch 22 for Blue Foundation to benefit those less fortunate in Louisiana. Through the foundation, he has sold hundreds of bracelets and autographed baseballs to raise money. Additionally, David has staged a Catch 22 for Blue Toy Drive for Louisiana children. Since its inception a year ago, David has been able to raise more than $90,000. Over the winter, David spent much of his time delivering food, equipment and toys to families who were still recovering from the devastating hurricane.
Washington Nationals: Chad Cordero
Chad shares the knowledge he has gained from his meteoric rise to stardom through his involvement in the Sliding into Success program, which teaches money managing and budgeting skills to 1,000 Washington-area fifth through seventh graders. Chad visits with all the students at their schools and at RFK Stadium where he distributes Nationals tickets, giveaway bags, photos and autographs. He joined Barry Zito's Strikeout for Troops program and has made visits to the Walter Reed Medical Hospital. Chad also hosts the Players Trust's Buses for Baseball program and donates funds to his high school's baseball program.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Chicago Cubs: Kerry Wood
Kerry and his wife, Sarah, annually host the Kerry Wood Strike Zone Celebrity Bowling Tournament to raise money to aid pediatric cancer patients at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Children's Center. Kerry and Sarah have raised more than $650,000 since November 2005 through the Celebrity Bowling Tournament and Silent Auction. The Woods spend time at the Children's Memorial Hospital visiting with patients, as well as comforting their family and friends. Kerry also participates in the Cubs Caravan, which visits Chicago area hospitals during the offseason.
Cincinnati Reds: Ryan Freel
Ryan demonstrated that he doesn't stop hustling when he's off the field by leading the Reds Rookie Success League in appearances. The RRSL is a non-competitive, co-ed, summer baseball league for youngsters aged 8 to 11 that emphasizes building character. As part of the Make-A-Wish partnership with the Reds for every Friday home game during the season, Ryan hosts a child and his/her family at the Great American Ball Park. As his personal guests, the family watches batting practice from the field and receives tickets for the game. Ryan also provides hundreds of tickets for children as incentives for the Reds & Reading program, which is partnered with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Houston Astros: Craig Biggio
Craig has been involved with volunteer work and children's charities throughout his long career, and the 2006 season is no exception. For more than a decade, Craig has been partnered with the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which is designated to aid children with cancer. Each year, Craig hosts the Biggio Baseball Party at Minute Maid Park for the Foundation. Craig runs the annual Sunshine Kids Celebrity Golf Classic to benefit the charity. The golf tournament is one of the biggest fundraisers in the greater Houston area and has raised more than $2 million since its inception. Craig regularly visits the patients in the Sunshine Kids house.
Milwaukee Brewers: Jeff Cirillo
Jeff does community volunteer work in his home state of Washington, as well as Wisconsin. He serves on the board of directors of the State of Washington Mentors Program, through which he works with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to provide Washington youth with positive role models. Jeff has also worked with Garth Brooks' Teammates for Kids Foundation during the past six years. For each RBI and hit Jeff gets, he donates money to children's charities that focus on health, education and inner-city services. Jeff supports youth baseball and softball programs in Wisconsin and devotes time and financial resources annually to a children's camp in Colorado.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jason Bay
Jason has been a huge hit in the Pittsburgh community, as well as PNC Park. The Jason Bay Family Fund was created to support families in need who want to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children who must travel to Pittsburgh for medical care. Jason has again teamed with U.S. Steel to donate money to the Ronald McDonald House for each hit he gets in 2006. Jason and U.S. Steel donated more than $33,500 to the Ronald McDonald House in 2005.
St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols
A finalist for the 2005 Man of the Year Award, Albert and his wife, Deidre, have established the Pujols Family Foundation, which is dedicated to the love, care and development of people with Down Syndrome and their families. Albert annually hosts a charity golf tournament to raise money for the foundation. Albert conducts live fund-raising auctions, at which he has been known to purchase some of the expensive items and then give them as gifts to the children in attendance. The cause is close to Albert and Deidre's hearts because their daughter, Isabella, has Down Syndrome. Albert also supports impoverished children and orphans of the Dominican Republic by donating money and time for education and gifts.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Arizona Diamondbacks: Tony Clark
Tony and his wife, Frances, established the Maximizing Valuable Potential Foundation (MVP) two years ago. With the MVP Suite Nights, the Clarks partner with local schools to sponsor an essay contest. The winner of each of the four contests is invited, along with 40 guests, to enjoy a Diamondbacks game and dinner in a suite at the ballpark. Also, the foundation awarded $16,000 in scholarships to minority high school students between 2006 and 2007. As part of the MVP program, Tony donates 1,000 tickets to non-profit organizations with a focus on assisting minorities and children in need. Tony also donated 2,000 tickets to Luke Air Force Base to offer his thanks for the men and woman who serve in the military. He is actively involved in the Players Trust, serving as one of the three trustees.
Colorado Rockies: Jason Jennings
After being inspired by the HBO "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" and NBC "Today Show" stories featuring Georgia-based Miracle League Baseball, Jason donated $50,000 to help build a Mile High Miracle League field, giving Denver youths with physical or mental challenges a chance to play baseball as a member of a team in an organized league. Through the Major League Baseball Players Trust, Jason mentors Denver high school students as part of the Action Team. In the program, players work with high school students who then go out and recruit more students to become active in community volunteer work. Jason schedules visits year-round to the Children's Hospital in Denver, participates in the Rockies' Care & Share program and the Players Trust's Buses for Baseball program. Jason also donates his time and money to research for pediatric heart conditions.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Nomar Garciaparra
Nomar established the Nomar 5 Foundation in 2000, which has continued to support organizations that work for the well-being of children. Originally founded during his time in Boston, Nomar has extended the Nomar 5 Fund to his new home in Southern California so that he may continue his charitable work. He participated in the 2006 Prostate Cancer Foundation Home Run Challenge, which raised money for each home run hit in games from June 7-18, by donating autographed memorabilia to raise money. He also speaks at stadium events to increase awareness of prostate cancer. During the offseason, he visited local middle schools and Little League organizations as part of the Dodgers Caravan.
San Diego Padres: Trevor Hoffman
Trevor is renowned for his work with the National Kidney Foundation. The reliever, who lost a kidney when he was a child, donates $200 per save to the Foundation that combats kidney disease in children. As part of Trevor's Kidney Kids, he frequently invites young patients with kidney diseases to PETCO Park to take in games as his personal guests. Other recipients of tickets from Trevor are families of deployed military men and women, the San Diego Teachers of the Year and other patients from the Children's Hospital. Trevor also helps raise money from each of his game appearances, saves and strikeouts as part of the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation.
San Francisco Giants: Mike Matheny
Mike's made good use of his time on the disabled list this season by becoming even more involved with his Catch 22 Miracle Field at the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex, which provides safe places for disabled children to play baseball. Mike and his wife, Kristin, also deliver teddy bears to patients at the St. Louis Children's Hospital, work with the Walk American Heart Association and contribute to the Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon. Mike is a former nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, as well as the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. He also was the first recipient of the Darryl Kile Award in 2003.