Major League Baseball today announced that Chris Davis was named the Orioles’ 2018 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 seventeenth annual Roberto Clemente Day will take place tomorrow, September 5. 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.
Prior to the game on September 11, the Orioles will present Davis with the Roberto Clemente Award during an on-field ceremony. Davis earned the Orioles 2018 distinction due to his family’s ongoing work with many charities in and around the Baltimore community, including the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, Casey Cares, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS), Christian Youth Athletics, and the OriolesREACH Gameday Experience Program. This is his second-straight year earning the nomination.
Davis and his wife, Jill, have served as ambassadors for the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH) at the University of Maryland Medical Center since 2016 - helping raise awareness for childhood illnesses and UMCH’s role as a leader in patient care, pediatric disease research, and educating future generations of health care providers.
This season the Davis family hosted their second annual “Crush’s Homers for Hearts,” a charity Home Run Derby event at Oriole Park at Camden Yards that benefits the Pediatric Heart Program of the UMCH. Through the event, participants enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in a Home Run Derby challenge on the field at Oriole Park. Additionally, Davis has donated $1,000 for each of his home runs to the UMCH Pediatric Heart Program during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, raising $42,000 to date.
For the third consecutive year, Chris and Jill have served as race ambassadors for the annual Casey Cares 5K run/walk at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. All proceeds benefit the Casey Cares Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides personalized, uplifting and ongoing programs with a special focus on critically-ill children and their family members throughout six states. Since moving to Oriole Park in 2013, the race has raised more than $500,000. Davis has also participated in the Casey Cares Extra Innings event, which through the Caring Connections Program encourages families to meet, share, and support each other while taking part in themed, group parties.
Davis posed in the Orioles 2018-2019 Pet Calendar with his dog, Samson, to raise money for the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS). The Orioles have helped to raise over $321,000 for BARCS over the past few years, including $65,000 through Orioles pet calendar sales in 2017 alone. The largest companion animal shelter in Maryland, BARCS takes in more than 11,000 dogs and cats and 1,000 wildlife and other small mammals annually. On any given day, BARCS cares for 250 or more dogs and cats in the shelter, and an additional 2,000 animals in foster care annually.
Each year since arriving in Baltimore, Davis has donated $5,000 to the OriolesREACH ticket and gameday experience, which hosts thousands of underprivileged youth. Group members receive game tickets, concessions vouchers, an Orioles t-shirt, a cap and transportation to and from the game. Davis has also joined up as part of the Orioles’ Military Appreciation Program, sponsored by GEICO by donating $2,500. Through the program, the Orioles and OriolesREACH donate a catered, private suite to servicemen and women for each Sunday home game and several Orioles players, including Davis, meet with the various military groups, and distribute Oriole t-shirts to them prior to the game. Davis is also involved with Christian Youth Athletics, and has hosted their group at the ballpark for the past several years.
The Roberto Clemente Award winner will be selected among the group of nominees via MLB’s blue ribbon panel and announced during the 2018 World Series. Beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on Roberto Clemente Day, Wednesday, September 5, and continuing until 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 18, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award at mlb.com/clemente21. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel.
In conjunction with Roberto Clemente Day, the Orioles will also recognize September as Hispanic Heritage Month. Orioles uniformed personnel will wear “Ponle Acento” t-shirts during batting practice on September 11 in support of MLB’s ongoing campaign, which highlights the many ways in which Hispanic players “put an accent” on the game.
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.