Josh Harrison named Pittsburgh Pirates nominee for the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award

Major League Baseball today announced that Josh Harrison was named the Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 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 6th 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.

Harrison is one of the 30 Club nominees for the annual award.

Since "JHay" became a part of the major league team in 2011, he has always been active in the community. During his 2014 All-Star season, Harrison hosted his first "All-Star Dinner" in Pittsburgh to raise money for a national program that was piloted in two rural schools in the region called Blessings in a Backpack. Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry. Harrison has supported the Backpack program since its inception and donates a significant amount of time and money each year to assist the program through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Pirates Charities.

In 2015, Josh and his wife Brittney took their community service passion to the next level by starting their own foundation called the Harrisons for Hope Foundation. This organization raises money and items for low-income families to support children with clothes from cradle to college.

The foundation raises money in a variety of ways. One of its first events was the Harrison Brothers Martin Luther King Day Camp in Ohio that was hosted by Josh and his older brother Vince, a former minor league player turned coach. During the camp, 20 youth, ages 13-18, received instruction from a dozen Major and Minor League players and coaches.

His philanthropic endeavors continued in Pittsburgh when the Harrisons for Hope Foundation held its first fundraising gala in September 2016, as over 200 fans attended the Harrisons inaugural "Base Ball."

Among the programs supported by the Harrisons for Hope Foundation was the baby shower that was hosted by Josh and Brittney for 50 low-income expectant or new mothers from the Pittsburgh area in June of this year. The shower provided these women with the opportunity to "take a minute" for themselves and enjoy each other's company and support. The mothers-to-be enjoyed a morning of pampering with massages, manicures, hair styling and make-up applications. After their gourmet brunch, each mom took home a diaper bag overflowing with all the newborn necessities needed to properly care for their babies.

When asked why he wanted to start this foundation, Harrison was quoted as saying: "As a parent, you never want your kid to want for anything. We look at our daughter and she has all of her necessities and then some. We have been blessed, but there are many families that really cannot provide the necessities for their kids -- things we take for granted. We just want to help any way we can."

This season, the MLB 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 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.

The distinguished list of past Roberto Clemente Award winners includes 16 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

  • 1971 Willie Mays+**
  • 1972 Brooks Robinson+**
  • 1973 Al Kaline+
  • 1974 Willie Stargell+
  • 1975 Lou Brock+
  • 1976 Pete Rose
  • 1977 Rod Carew+
  • 1978 Greg Luzinski
  • 1979 Andre Thornton
  • 1980 Phil Niekro+
  • 1981 Steve Garvey
  • 1982 Ken Singleton
  • 1983 Cecil Cooper
  • 1984 Ron Guidry
  • 1985 Don Baylor
  • 1986 Garry Maddox
  • 1987 Rick Sutcliffe
  • 1988 Dale Murphy
  • 1989 Gary Carter+
  • 1990 Dave Stewart
  • 1991 Harold Reynolds
  • 1992 Cal Ripken, Jr.+
  • 1993 Barry Larkin+
  • 1994 Dave Winfield+
  • 1995 Ozzie Smith+
  • 1996 Kirby Puckett+
  • 1997 Eric Davis
  • 1998 Sammy Sosa
  • 1999 Tony Gwynn+
  • 2000 Al Leiter
  • 2001 Curt Schilling
  • 2002 Jim Thome
  • 2003 Jamie Moyer
  • 2004 Edgar Martinez
  • 2005 John Smoltz+
  • 2006 Carlos Delgado
  • 2007 Craig Biggio+
  • 2008 Albert Pujols
  • 2009 Derek Jeter
  • 2010 Tim Wakefield
  • 2011 David Ortiz
  • 2012 Clayton Kershaw
  • 2013 Carlos Beltran
  • 2014 Paul Konerko*
  • 2014 Jimmy Rollins*
  • 2015 Andrew McCutchen
  • 2016 Curtis Granderson

+ Member of The National Baseball Hall of Fame
* Co-winner
** Originally known as the Commissioner's Award (prior to 1973)