Second baseman Robinson Cano is the Mariners’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. An overall winner from the 30 club nominees will be announced next month at the World Series.
"It means a lot if you know the history of Clemente," Cano said. "The first Latino to play in the big leagues. And all of the great things that he’s done, not only on the field but also off the field. It’s an honor."
The award seeks to recognize one player each year "who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field."
Cano’s RC22 Foundation, founded in 2011, focuses efforts on youth development and community healthcare.
"I came from a poor town," he said, "and I’ve been there when you grow up, and you don’t have anything or anybody to help you.
"For me, to come all of the way from the Dominican and make it to the big leagues, being blessed, I want to give back to the community."
MLB will hold its 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday in recognition of his achievements and character. Clemente died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972 while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Starting Wednesday, fans can participate this season in the voting for the first time by posting hashtags on Twitter and Facebook. The fan balloting runs through Oct. 2.
Cano’s hashtag is #VoteCano.
The award dates to 1971 and was originally known as the Commissioner’s Award, but its name was changed to honor Clemente following his death.
Clemente was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973 through a special-election waiver eliminating the five-year waiting period. He participated in 15 All-Star Games in an 18-year career spent entirely with Pittsburgh.
Three Mariners have won the award: second baseman Harold Reynolds in 1991, pitcher Jamie Moyer in 2003 and designated hitter Edgar Martinez in 2004. Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen was last year’s recipient.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners
The 30 Club nominees of the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award
(Asterisk indicates player was a 2016 All-Star)
Arizona Diamondbacks – Paul Goldschmidt* (#VoteGoldy)
Atlanta Braves – Jim Johnson (#VoteJJ)
Baltimore Orioles – Adam Jones (#VoteAdam)
Boston Red Sox – Brock Holt (#VoteBrock)
Chicago Cubs – Anthony Rizzo* (#VoteRizzo)
Chicago White Sox – Jose Abreu (#VoteAbreu)
Cincinnati Reds – Michael Lorenzen (#VoteLorenzen)
Cleveland Indians – Carlos Carrasco (#VoteCookie)
Colorado Rockies – Carlos González* (#VoteCarGo)
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera* (#VoteMiggy)
Houston Astros – Lance McCullers (#VoteMcCullers)
Kansas City Royals – Eric Hosmer* (#VoteHosmer)
Los Angeles Angels – Andrew Heaney (#VoteHeaney)
Los Angeles Dodgers – Adrian González (#VoteAdrian)
Miami Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton (#VoteStanton)
Milwaukee Brewers – Ryan Braun (#VoteBraun)
Minnesota Twins – Joe Mauer (#VoteMauer)
New York Mets – Curtis Granderson (#VoteGrandy)
New York Yankees – Brett Gardner (#VoteGardy)
Oakland Athletics – Sean Doolittle (#VoteDoolittle)
Philadelphia Phillies – Ryan Howard (#VoteHoward)
Pittsburgh Pirates – Jared Hughes (#VoteHughes)
St. Louis Cardinals – Adam Wainwright (#VoteWainwright)
San Diego Padres – Tyson Ross (#VoteRoss)
San Francisco Giants – Jake Peavy (#VotePeavy)
Seattle Mariners – Robinson Canó* (#VoteCano)
Tampa Bay Rays – Chris Archer (#VoteArcher)
Texas Rangers – Cole Hamels* (#VoteHamels)
Toronto Blue Jays – Kevin Pillar (#VotePillar)
Washington Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman (#VoteZim)
Previous Clemente Award winners
1971: Willie Mays
1972: Brooks Robinson
1973 Al Kaline
1974 Willie Stargell
1975 Lou Brock
1976 Pete Rose
1977 Rod Carew
1978 Greg Luzinski
1979 Andre Thornton
1980 Phil Niekro
1981 Steve Garvey
1982 Ken Singleton
1983 Cecil Cooper
1984 Ron Guidry
1985 Don Baylor
1986 Greg Maddux
1987 Rick Sutcliffe
1988 Dale Murphy
1989 Gary Carter
1990 Dave Stewart
1991 Harold Reynolds
1992 Cal Ripken Jr.
1993 Barry Larkin
1994 Dave Winfield
1995 Ozzie Smith
1996 Kirby Puckett
1997 Eric Davis
1998 Sammy Sosa
1999 Tony Gwynn
2000 Al Leiter
2001 Curt Schilling
2002 Jim Thome
2003 Jamie Moyer
2004 Edgar Martinez
2005 John Smoltz
2006 Carlos Delgado
2007 Craig Biggio
2008 Albert Pujols
2009 Derek Jeter
2010 Tim Wakefield
2011 David Ortiz
2012 Clayton Kershaw
2013 Carlos Beltran
2014 Paul Konerko and Jimmy Rollins
2015 Andrew McCutchen