September 1 will mark the eighth annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor the legacy of Roberto Clemente. Fans are encouraged to participate in the selection of the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy. From September 2 through October 4, 2009, fans can log on to www.chevy.com/clemente and vote for one of the 30 Club nominees.
The Roberto Clemente Award, is part of Chevy's official sponsorship of Major League Baseball, and recognizes those players who best represent the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions to their teams.
The award is named for Clemente, a 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who died on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. This award perpetuates Clemente's legacy and character by recognizing current-day players who truly understand the value of helping others.
Hudson was selected as the Dodgers' nominee for his tireless work in the Los Angeles community during his first season with the club in 2009. The Dodgers will recognize Hudson with a pre-game ceremony tomorrow, September 2. Orlando's main focus in the community is the C.A.T.C.H. (Curing Autism Through Hope and Change) Foundation, a non-profit he founded to provide resources and a support system for youth coping with autism. As part of his efforts with C.A.T.C.H., Orlando has hosted special needs children at Dodger Stadium throughout the season.
He also made visits with children to former Dodger Jim Gott's Danny's Farm, a petting zoo and arts and crafts facility designed for children with special needs, and to the Loma Alta Elementary School, where he read, answered questions, took photos, and signed autographs.
Later this month, Orlando will host Skate for Autism, a red carpet charity event in Northridge, CA, to roll, bounce, and skate out autism. The C.A.T.C.H. Foundation has also served children with its annual Autism Walk: Strike Out! Bowling Fundraiser, Homerun Holiday Christmas gifting ceremony, and financial contributions to local organizations and schools with youth coping with autism.
Through his Around the Mound Tour, which he created earlier this year, Orlando visited Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy and Van Ness Recreation Center in Los Angeles, as well as stops in several other Major League cities. He enlisted the help of several of his fellow Major Leaguers throughout the season, as they took part in a program he created to reach out to African-American youth and keep them interested in playing baseball.
Orlando's work in the community earned him the inaugural Albert Einstein Leadership Award, given by the Pasadena Unified School District Community Advisory Committee. The award recognizes an individual who, through personal success or extraordinary effort, has positively impacted the special education cause or the public's perception of special education students.
The distinguished list of national Roberto Clemente Award recipients includes 13 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
1971 Willie Mays* 1991 Harold Reynolds 1972 Brooks Robinson* 2002 Jim Thome 1973 Al Kaline* 1993 Barry Larkin 1974 Willie Stargell* 1994 Dave Winfield* 1975 Lou Brock* 1995 Ozzie Smith* 1976 Pete Rose 1996 Kirby Puckett* 1977 Rod Carew* 1997 Eric Davis 1978 Greg Luzinski 1998 Sammy Sosa 1979 Andre Thornton 1999 Tony Gwynn* 1980 Phil Niekro* 2000 Al Leiter 1981 Steve Garvey 2001 Curt Schilling 1982 Ken Singleton 2002 Jim Thome 1983 Cecil Cooper 2003 Jamie Moyer 1984 Ron Guidry 2004 Edgar Martinez 1985 Don Baylor 2005 John Smoltz 1986 Garry Maddox 2006 Carlos Delgado 1987 Rick Sutcliffe 2007 Craig Biggio 1988 Dale Murphy 2008 Albert Pujols 1989 Gary Carter* 1990 Dave Stewart * Member of Baseball Hall of FameThe winner of the fan poll will receive one vote among those cast by the official selection panel, which includes Vera Clemente, wife of the late Hall of Famer, and Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.
Participating fans automatically will be registered for a chance to win a trip to Game Three of the 2009 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy will be announced. MLB celebrates Roberto Clemente Day as part of its broader "MLB Going Beyond" platform, an initiative that strives to integrate community service and the importance of giving back.