This upcoming Wednesday, September 18, marks the 18th anniversary of Roberto Clemente Day and is a reminder of the amazing charity Clemente did all over the world. As one of the most cherished awards for all players around the league, the Dodgers very own Kenley Jansen has been nominated to represent the team.
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) September 12, 2019
It’s been well documented that Kenley Jansen’s community involvement was sparked after he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, where he spent many nights in hospitals and realized how much he could do to help children in hospitals in Los Angeles and his home of Curacao.
Just a few weeks ago, Kenley hosted his first annual fundraise called “A Night of Courageous Hearts”
DODGERS OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Major League Baseball today announced that Kenley Jansen was named the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2019 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prestigious individual award for Major League players.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a Major League player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Every year, each MLB Club nominates a player to be considered for the Award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. Wednesday, September 18 marks the 18th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which 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.
Jansen is one of the 30 Club nominees for the annual award, and will be recognized during pregame ceremonies at Dodger Stadium prior to the Dodgers-Rays game on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
After being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (or AFib, an irregular heartbeat), Heart has been at the root of Jansen’s community involvement during his numerous visits to hospitals, schools and ballfields throughout Los Angeles and Curacao, and also the creation of the Kenley Jansen Foundation earlier this year.
The mission of the Foundation is to impact the lives of families who have seriously ill and chronically ill children, by providing them with daily support through life-improving resources and life-changing experiences. The Foundation’s signature outreach program has been the creation of Kenley’s Lockers at pediatric hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses throughout greater Los Angeles. The branded cabinets are stocked with entertainment systems – iPads, gaming consoles, portable DVD players, laptops, etc – to help patients stay in good spirits and bring the comforts of home to long hospital stays. Jansen has pledged $500 per strikeout (up to $50,000) this year to support this initiative, and encouraged others to join his efforts. The program was also supported by the Foundation’s first annual ‘A Night of Courageous Hearts’ fundraising event held on July 22, which was attended by Dodger players and celebrities.
Jansen has also been a fixture at the Dodgers’ and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s (LADF) community events, including passing out turkeys at the club’s annual Thanksgiving giveaway, handing out eyeglasses to schoolchildren in partnership with LADF and Vision to Learn and coaching up youngsters at LAPD’s swing-a-thon. Jansen has also taken the lead on promoting LADF’s 6th annual Biofreeze Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Run Presented by UCLA Health, where participants will receive a special edition Jansen bobblehead. When he re-signed with the Dodgers in 2017, Jansen made LADF an important part of his contract and has supported its programs as well as other charities close to his heart in Los Angeles and Curacao, where he’s sent sporting equipment, operated sports camps and helped build sports facilities.
“We’re proud to nominate Kenley Jansen for the Clemente Award and recognize the great work he’s doing to make Los Angeles a better place,” said Naomi Rodriguez, Dodger Vice President of External Affairs and Community Relations. “The creation of the Kenley Jansen Foundation demonstrates Kenley and Gianni’s commitment to our community and their desire to positively impact families and children battling pediatric illnesses.”
“Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Roberto Clemente, a man who did so much for his country and his community, means a lot to me and my family,” said Kenley Jansen. “The Kenley Jansen Foundation continues to grow, and Gianni and I are excited to see its reach expand to impact more and more kids. It’s an honor to be able give back and represent the Dodgers in the community.”
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB.com, as well as Vera Clemente (the late Roberto’s wife & MLB Goodwill Ambassador). Beginning today, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Sunday, September 29th. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel. Fans are encouraged to vote by visiting the following mlb.com/clemente21.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” The recognition 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.
The distinguished list of past Roberto Clemente Award winners includes 18 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
|1971||Willie Mays+**||1981||Steve Garvey||1991||Harold Reynolds||2001||Curt Schilling||2011||David Ortiz|
|1972||Brooks Robinson+**||1982||Ken Singleton||1992||Cal Ripken, Jr.+||2002||Jim Thome+||2012||Clayton Kershaw|
|1973||Al Kaline+||1983||Cecil Cooper||1993||Barry Larkin+||2003||Jamie Moyer||2013||Carlos Beltrán|
|1974||Willie Stargell+||1984||Ron Guidry||1994||Dave Winfield+||2004||Edgar Martinez+||2014||Paul Konerko *|
|1975||Lou Brock+||1985||Don Baylor||1995||Ozzie Smith+||2005||John Smoltz+||2014||Jimmy Rollins *|
|1976||Pete Rose||1986||Garry Maddox||1996||Kirby Puckett+||2006||Carlos Delgado||2015||Andrew McCutchen|
|1977||Rod Carew+||1987||Rick Sutcliffe||1997||Eric Davis||2007||Craig Biggio+||2016||Curtis Granderson|
|1978||Greg Luzinski||1988||Dale Murphy||1998||Sammy Sosa||2008||Albert Pujols||2017||Anthony Rizzo|
|1979||Andre Thornton||1989||Gary Carter+||1999||Tony Gwynn+||2009||Derek Jeter||2018||Yadier Molina|
|1980||Phil Niekro+||1990||Dave Stewart||2000||Al Leiter||2010||Tim Wakefield|
+ Member of The National Baseball Hall of Fame; * Co-winner; ** Originally known as the Commissioner’s Award (prior to 1973)