WASHINGTON -- Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was named the Nationals' 2012 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.
Tuesday marked the 11th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially recognize local club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award.
Zimmerman is one of 30 club finalists nominated for the award, which pays tribute to Clemente by recognizing a current player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. The award is named for the 15-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Zimmerman's commitment to the community is best illustrated through his work with the ziMS Foundation, which he founded in 2006, his first full season in the Major Leagues. The ziMS Foundation aims to raise money for multiple sclerosis awareness and programs benefiting those afflicted with the disease.
Serving as president, Zimmerman is actively involved in and donates his time, money and image to promoting the foundation. This year the foundation expects to surpass $1 million in donations for MS charities and research. The foundation holds several fundraising events annually, including ziMS Funfest, the Golf and Gala and the popular Night at the Park held at Nationals Park. Zimmerman's community outreach also includes visits to local children's hospitals several times each season.
"More and more today, you see guys doing stuff off the field and in the community. That's an important part of being a professional athlete," Zimmerman said.
Fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national award recipient by visiting MLB.com/ClementeAward to vote for one of the 30 nominees. Participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 World Series, where the national winner of the award will be announced. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 14, and the winner of the fan poll will receive one vote among those cast by a selection panel.