Former Twin Justin Morneau nominated for MLB's Roberto Clemente Award
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Happy Roberto Clemente Day, baseball fans.
The day was established in 2002, in part to honor Clemente's spirit of giving. Briefly for those unaware, the tale of Clemente is both tragic and uplifting: the All-Star right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates collected his 3,000 hit in his final game of 1972. On New Year's Eve that year, he died in a plane crash while working to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38.
The next year, he became the first Latin American enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
On a slightly less tragic note...
Morneau, who was dealt Aug. 31 to Pittsburgh, is up for the award that is given to players who "best represent the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement."
Sure, it's a little awkward that the former stalwart in the Twins lineup and clubhouse is now gone and still nominated for this award. But that view is a little shortsighted.
It's a prestigious 'good guy' award, and from all accounts, Morneau is deserving of that nomination.
Here are the charitable organizations with which Morneau was involved, according to MLB.com:
"The Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, the Como Zoo and Conservatory, Ronald McDonald House, Fields for Kids and the Salvation Army. Morneau's Mounties also provided more than 10,000 Twins tickets to the families of the U.S. military dating back to 2009."
Morneau was traded for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named, and his current Pirates team looks like it could be ticketed for the playoffs. The former Twins first baseman taped a video tribute thanking fans for their support over the years, according to Bollinger.
There's one nominee for each Major League team. Fan voting for the award ends Oct. 6.