Major League Baseball today announced that Adam Jones was named the Orioles’ 2016 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB. The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB club who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Each club nominates one current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. The fifteenth annual Roberto Clemente Day will take place on Wednesday, September 7. This commemorative day was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially acknowledge local club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.
On September 15, prior to the 7:05 p.m. game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles will present Jones with the Roberto Clemente Award during an on-field ceremony. Jones, a former Boys & Girls Club member, has teamed up with the Orioles to help to renovate three Boys & Girls Clubs in Baltimore over the past three years including, most recently, the Webster Kendrick Boys & Girls Clubs through a $75,000 donation. Jones annually supports the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s scholarship program, giving deserving teens an opportunity to pursue their dreams of attending college. He also serves as an Honorary Chair of the Y of Central Maryland’s “Send a Kids to Camp” campaign, a program that raises necessary funds to provide a safe, productive summer for children from struggling families throughout central Maryland.
To expand access to youth baseball, Jones has donated to the Orioles Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and regularly participates in the Baltimore City Youth Clinic to teach children and teenagers the fundamentals of the game. Each year, Jones also donates to the OriolesREACH Gameday Experience program, giving underprivileged youth an opportunity to attend an Orioles game.
Jones has received several prestigious awards for his ongoing commitment to community service. In 2016, he was once again named the Orioles recipient of the Heart & Hustle Award by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, an award he has won three times. In the past year, he was presented with the 2015 Players Choice Award as the Marvin Miller Man of the Year and with the prestigious Governor’s Service Award in Maryland.
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans can participate in the process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on social media for the first time by posting voting hashtags to Twitter and Facebook. Orioles fans can vote for Jones by using #VoteAdam.
To enhance Roberto Clemente Day and celebrate Clemente’s enduring legacy in 2016, Major League Baseball worked with all 30 clubs to establish SEAT 21. SEAT 21 will be a designated seat in each ballpark on Roberto Clemente Day dedicated to a local hero who will be recognized in addition to the club Clemente Award nominee. Recognizing individuals who embody the humanitarian spirit of Roberto Clemente is a natural extension of the current honor bestowed upon players each year and gives MLB and the clubs the opportunity to further extend the message of service and commitment.
The Orioles have selected longtime Oriole Advocate and Cardboard to Leather volunteer Bob Harden for this special honor. Each year, the Oriole Advocates host the Cardboard to Leather drive at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, collecting new and gently-used baseball equipment and donations. Harden began volunteering with the program in 2007 and has distributed baseball equipment to more than 8,000 children around the world. He has also taken four trips to Nicaragua to deliver baseball equipment to disadvantaged youth. Harden will receive tickets to the September 15 game vs. Tampa Bay and will also be recognized during an in-game ceremony. Over the past two decades, the Oriole Advocates have collected 80 tons of equipment and delivered the items to more than 50,000 children in Afghanistan, Aruba, Belize, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Serbia, Venezuela, and throughout the United States.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award,” but was renamed to the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Each September since 2002, Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day.