MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Desmond is Nats' nominee for Clemente Award

Desmond is Nats' nominee for Clemente Award

ATLANTA -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is one of 30 nominees for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award.

All 30 nominees have immersed themselves in the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of Clemente, one that ended at age 38 on New Year's Eve 1972, when the plane he was using to deliver aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims crashed.

Wednesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted on the 30th anniversary of his passing in 1972 to keep alive Clemente's spirit of giving.

Beginning Wednesday, fans will be able to go to MLB.com/ClementeAward to decide which of this year's 30 club winners will receive this prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. The nominees were chosen based on their dedication to giving back to the community, as well as their outstanding ability on the field. Voting will end on Oct. 6.

Since joining the team in 2009, Desmond has dedicated himself to helping the local youth baseball community, focusing his efforts on reaching out to at-risk youth.

Desmond also wants to help more African-American kids learn to love the game of baseball. He is on the board of directors of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.

The facility, which will include three fields and an 18,000-square-foot athletic and educational building, is located east of the Anacostia River in Ward 7.

Desmond spoke about the responsibility the team and the players have to give back to the community around them, especially the area's youth.

In addition to his work with the youth baseball community, Desmond has been a strong supporter of the Nationals' outreach to the military community -- including visiting with wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and in May, Desmond and the Nationals raised awareness for neurofibromatosis (NF), a disease that causes tumors to grow along nerves in the body and effects roughly 1 in 3,000 births worldwide, yet it is not well known by the public and remains largely a mystery to the scientific community.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.