Angels pitcher up for philanthropic honor with volunteer work
By Austin Laymance
Andrew Heaney is making a difference off the field, even though an injury has prevented him from helping the Angels on the baseball diamond since early April.
Heaney is the Angels' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, and Wednesday is Roberto Clemente Day in the Major Leagues. In addition to his annual offseason mission to help orphans in Honduras, the starting pitcher volunteers his time in countless ways and has donated Angels tickets this season to military and first responders.
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. Heaney's hashtag is #VoteHeaney.
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.
Over the past two offseasons, Heaney has been part of a small group of big leaguers to travel to Honduras to help start a learning center in the outskirts of a city called El Progreso, located about 20 miles from San Pedro Sula, the second-largest city in the crime-riddled Central American nation.
Heaney made one start for the Angels in April and is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July. The left-hander will likely miss the 2017 season as well.
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 nominee as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies. Visiting clubs will honor their nominee 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.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.