"It means you're doing something in the community, and that's always an honor," Hernandez said. "To be part of that is good. It's a big award, a very important one for me."
Wednesday will be the 13th annual Roberto Clemente Day in MLB, honoring the 15-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve in 1972 while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Beginning Wednesday, fans can participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award winner by visiting ChevyBaseball.com to vote for one of the 30 club nominees. Voting ends on Sunday, Oct. 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2014 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.
In his 10 seasons with the Mariners, Hernandez has been selected to five All-Star Games and was named the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2010. He's having one of his best seasons yet this year, posting a 14-5 record with a 2.14 ERA while helping the Mariners challenge for their first playoff berth since 2001.
Hernandez is a popular figure among players in the game, and he has also played a large role off the field as well. Since arriving in Seattle as a teenage phenom, Hernandez has been active with the Make-A-Wish program, as well as the Mariners' anti-domestic violence program known as Refuse To Abuse.
This year, Hernandez partnered with Grammy Award-winning Seattle recording artist Macklemore on the #ChangetheGame anti-bullying campaign that asks students to "be kind, stay positive and support each other," and to also sign an anti-bullying pledge.
Hernandez is an advocate for the Humane Society of Seattle/King County, a nonprofit animal welfare organization, and he's supported numerous other local charities and nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest, including Esperanza, the South Park Community Center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Special Olympics of Washington, the Boys & Girls Clubs, The Martinez Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel, which include Commissioner Bud Selig; Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred; MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of Roberto Clemente, Vera Clemente; and representatives from Chevrolet, MLB Network, MLB.com, ESPN, FOX Sports and TBS, among others.
The Mariners have produced three Clemente Award winners: Harold Reynolds in 1991, Jamie Moyer in 2003 and Edgar Martinez in '04.