Major League Baseball announced that Jim Johnson was named the Atlanta Braves' 2016 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club 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 current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character. Wednesday, September 7th marks the fifteenth 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. 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.
Jim Johnson is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award. The Atlanta Braves nominated Braves pitcher Jim Johnson for his active community service with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), the Grace White Foundation, the Miracle League, and support of military families. Before the Braves match up with the Washington Nationals on September 16, Johnson will participate in an on-field presentation in which he will be recognized as the Braves' nominee and his charity of choice, the Grace White Foundation, will receive $7,500.
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans can participate in the process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on social media for the first time by posting voting hashtags to Twitter and Facebook. Braves fans can vote for Jim Johnson by using #VoteJJ.
To enhance Roberto Clemente Day and celebrate Clemente's enduring legacy in 2016, Major League Baseball worked with the 30 Clubs to establish SEAT 21. SEAT 21 will be a designated seat in each ballpark on Roberto Clemente Day (or alternate home game for Clubs on the road) dedicated to a well-known or local hero originally from the community who will be recognized in addition to the Club Clemente Award nominee. Recognizing individuals who embody the humanitarian spirit of Roberto Clemente is a natural extension of the current honor bestowed upon players each year and gives MLB and the Clubs the opportunity to further extend the message of service and commitment.
The Atlanta Braves selected Jeffrey Tapia as the club's SEAT 21 nominee for her continued support of Latino issues and Latino families in metro Atlanta. For more than 30 years, Jeffrey Tapia has provided service, leadership and advocacy to ensure social justice and opportunity for the Latino community. Because of her passion, extensive experience and deep understanding of issues facing the community, she has been selected as the Latin American Association's 2016 Ambassador of the Year. Tapia will be recognized along with Johnson during the on-field presentation on September 16, and her seat in Section 101 will be decorated with a SEAT 21 decal.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the "Commissioner's Award," but was renamed to 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.