Billy Butler named Royals nominee for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet
Major League Baseball and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, today announced that Billy Butler was named the Royals 2011 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Butler is one of the 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, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Tomorrow will mark 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.
Butler, who will be recognized in a special pregame ceremony prior to the club’s 3:10 p.m. game against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, is involved in a number of community outreach efforts in the Kansas City area, including work with the Bishop Sullivan Center. The center, created in 1972 by three area Catholic parishes in response to the growing number of people living in poverty in their neighborhood, is one of the largest providers of emergency assistance in the Kansas City area. The Bishop Sullivan Center now operates three food pantries, a soup kitchen, employment services, a clothes closet, elderly services, and financial emergency assistance.
Butler’s wife, Katie, began volunteering at the Bishop Sullivan Center in 2007 and urged her husband to create a program to benefit the center. In 2008, the Butlers unveiled the Hit-It-A-Ton program to help feed the hungry in the Kansas City area. The matching donation program, in which individuals and corporate sponsors match Butler’s donation for each home run and double he hits, is now in its fourth year and continues to grow. For more information on the Hit-It-A-Ton program, visit www.bishopsullivan.org/hit-it-a-ton.aspx.
The distinguished list of national Roberto Clemente Award recipients includes 13 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
1971 Willie Mays* 1985 Don Baylor 1998 Sammy Sosa
1972 Brooks Robinson* 1986 Garry Maddox 1999 Tony Gwynn*
1973 Al Kaline* 1987 Rick Sutcliffe 2000 Al Leiter
1974 Willie Stargell* 1988 Dale Murphy 2001 Curt Schilling
1975 Lou Brock* 1989 Gary Carter* 2002 Jim Thome
1976 Pete Rose 1990 Dave Stewart 2003 Jamie Moyer
1977 Rod Carew* 1991 Harold Reynolds 2004 Edgar Martinez
1978 Greg Luzinski 1992 Cal Ripken, Jr.* 2005 John Smoltz
1979 Andre Thornton 1993 Barry Larkin 2006 Carlos Delgado
1980 Phil Niekro* 1994 Dave Winfield* 2007 Craig Biggio
1981 Steve Garvey 1995 Ozzie Smith 2008 Albert Pujols
1982 Ken Singleton 1996 Kirby Puckett* 2009 Derek Jeter
1983 Cecil Cooper 1997 Eric Davis 2010 Tim Wakefield
1984 Ron Guidry
* Member of Baseball Hall of Fame
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national award recipient by visiting www.chevybaseball.com/clemente, a site powered by MLB.com and created specifically for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet platform, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends on October 9, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2011 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.
The winner of the fan poll will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel, which includes Commissioner Selig; Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Hall of Famer; Baseball Hall of Famer, TBS analyst and former Roberto Clemente Award winner Cal Ripken Jr.; MLB Network analyst, TBS broadcaster and former Roberto Clemente Award winner John Smoltz; MLB Network analysts and former Roberto Clemente Award winners Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds; and MLB.com senior correspondent Hal Bodley.
All Clubs playing at home on September 14 will acknowledge their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies, while visiting Clubs will honor their nominees before another September home game.
As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and the official dugout lineup cards.