ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer is the Tampa Bay Rays' nominee for the 2016 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.
Wednesday marks the 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball 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.
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. Archer's hashtag is #VoteArcher.
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.
Archer began using his platform to reach disadvantaged youth in the Tampa Bay area when he broke into the Major Leagues with the Rays in 2013. While he has both raised money and donated significant amounts of money to charities in Tampa and his home city of Clayton, N.C., Archer's primary commitment to his community has been his generous donation of time.
In their 19 years of existence, the Rays have never had a player come close to the hours Archer has accumulated while serving his community.
Archer has made meaningful, lasting connections with kids, including repeated visits to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg; the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center; RBI Leagues in numerous cities; Good Sports, Inc., a non-profit that helps provide athletic equipment to disadvantaged youth; the Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school in St. Petersburg that helps minority middle school boys improve academic performance and gain life skills; Burg Baseball, Inc., a St. Petersburg-based program designed to give financially disadvantaged youngsters a chance to play ball; and local recreation centers and after-school programs where he reads with young children as part of the "Reading with the Rays" program.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.