The Washington Nationals, Major League Baseball and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, have announced that shortstop Ian Desmond has been named the Washington Nationals' 2011 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.
Desmond is one of 30 Club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field. Today marks the tenth 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 presented by Chevrolet.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. It is named for the 12-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.
Since joining the Nationals in 2009, Desmond has focused his charitable efforts on working with the local youth baseball community, primarily with programs that reach out to at-risk youth. Throughout his career, Desmond has been a consistent presence at youth baseball events around the Washington, D.C. region. Most recently, the 25-year-old visited the Home Run Baseball Camp at Payne Elementary School in D.C., which offers a year-round after-school baseball program that teaches students from underserved D.C. neighborhoods the fundamentals of baseball.
Desmond has also played a pivotal role in helping the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation promote their Youth Baseball Academy in Ward 7's Fort Dupont Park. At the facility's groundbreaking earlier this season, Desmond made a passionate appeal in support of the Foundation's efforts, stressing the importance of providing local youth with access to the kind of guidance, resources and support that the Academy will ultimately make available.
"Ian's passion for revitalizing baseball in the D.C. area is obvious any time he visits with youngsters at local baseball camps," said Israel Negron, the Nationals Senior Director for Community Relations. "It's great to have an ambassador like Ian who is always willing to spend his personal time getting kids excited about baseball."
The Nationals will host Roberto Clemente Day on Friday, Sept. 16 when they face the Florida Marlins at 7:05pm. Desmond will be recognized prior to the game in an on-field ceremony that will also feature a video tribute to Clemente.