Stanton making a difference off the field, too

Slugger is Marlins' 2016 Roberto Clemente Award nominee

Stanton making a difference off the field, too

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton captured the imagination of the baseball world in July, when he was crowned the T-Mobile Home Run Derby champion at Petco Park in San Diego. Blasting a Derby-record 61 homers, the Marlins right fielder put on an awe-inspiring display with his prodigious blasts.

At an imposing 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Stanton certainly stands out in a crowd. But the 26-year-old has a less noticeable public side -- and it is reflected in causes he champions off the field. It's for that community work that the slugger is the Marlins' nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

Major League Baseball announced the 30 club nominees on Tuesday for the annual recognition of a player 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 player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.

Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans are encouraged to participate in the new process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award by posting any nominee's voting hashtags to MLB's official social media accounts, @MLB on Twitter and Facebook.com/MLB. Stanton's hashtag is #VoteStanton.

A dedicated member of the South Florida community since his rookie season in 2010, Stanton actively supports the Marlins Foundation and Marlins RBI programs.

In the past two years, Stanton has taken his most tragic experience on a baseball field and turned it into a positive by assisting those less fortunate. That's why he helped establish "All-Star Smiles," a non-profit organization that offers free dental care to children in under-served communities.

Stanton sustained a serious injury on Sept. 11, 2014, when he was struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee. He sustained multiple facial fractures and sustained serious dental damage. He was treated by Dr. Craig Spodak at Spodak Dental Group.

Stanton carted off field

After becoming more aware of Spodak Dental Group's work with children, Stanton, in collaboration with Spodak Dental Group, launched All-Star Smiles.

One of the faces of the Major Leagues, Stanton is a dedicated player. He's a three-time All-Star, the 2014 National League Home Run champion, and a previous winner of the Hank Aaron Award.

The Clemente Award is among the highest honors for any player.

Wednesday marks the 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially acknowledge local club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. Clubs playing at home on Wednesday will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies. Visiting clubs will honor their nominees before another September home game.

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 original "Commissioner's Award" for philanthropic service was renamed in 1973 in honor of Clemente, 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.

Stanton has had a rocky 2016 on the field, and he currently is on the disabled list with a Grade 3 left groin strain.

But even while he hasn't been at his best this season, he's still made an impact -- belting 25 home runs and registering 70 RBIs in 103 games.

The first All-Star Smiles event took place at Marlins Ayudan Partner School, Lenora B. Smith Elementary, in September 2015. Pre-dental screening for students was conducted, and it was determined nearly 100 students were in need of dental work.

All-Star Smiles has been serving the community ever since.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.