Each Club nominates one current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character. Wednesday, September 6 marks the sixteenth 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.
Mauer is one of the 30 Club nominees for the annual award. The Twins will recognize Mauer at an on-field ceremony later this season. Mauer's commitment to the community can be seen through his work with the Highland Friendship Club, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and the Mauer's Minnies ticket program.
Joe serves as spokesman and annually hosts a bowling fundraiser for the Highland Friendship Club. Along with his wife Maddie, Mauer recently donated funds to renovate a play room at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare hospital. Joe and Maddie also hosted the annual Mauer and Friends Kids Classic luncheon event to benefit Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. In its second year the event has raised needed funds for the hospital's foundation. Joe also supports Friends of St. Paul Baseball, an organization that helps improve baseball facilities for youth in St. Paul that has raised more than $30,000 for St. Paul youth ballparks. He also acts as a spokesman and mentor to the MLB Player's Association's Action Team. In partnership with Volunteers of America, the Action Team enlists high school students to recruit others to volunteer in their community. Joe meets with Action Team members and mentors them on their outreach work. Mauer established a community ticket program called Mauer's Minnies, providing Twins game tickets to thousands of economically disadvantaged youth from Minneapolis and St. Paul. Since 2005, 25,000 youth and their families have attended a Twins game for free because of Mauer's generous contributions.
In addition to the charitable work mentioned above, Mauer spends countless hours signing autographs at TwinsFest and Autograph Party, helping to raise more than $280,000 for the Twins Community Fund. He has also taken part in the Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan, spending four days traveling the Upper Midwest to visit with community groups and Minnesota Twins fans.
The Roberto Clemente Award winner will be selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel that includes individuals connected to the game, including Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB Advanced Media, as well as Vera Clemente, the late Roberto's wife. Beginning the day after the Regular Season ends, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to easily vote by clicking on the respective nominee's name. The winner of the fan voting, which will run from Monday, October 2nd through Friday, October 6th, will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel. Additional information about fan voting will be shared via MLB.com and MLB social media channels.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the "Commissioner's Award." The recognition 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. Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day each September since 2002.