Voted on by baseball fans and members of the media, the Roberto Clemente Award has been given annually since 1971 to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individuals contribution to his team".
Named after 12-time All-Star and Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente in 1973, the award was named after Clemente died on New Year's Eve 1972 while trying to deliver supplies to victims of the Nicaragua earthquake.
Each year, a panel of baseball dignitaries selects one player from 30 nominees, one from each team. Some of the past receipts of this award were such baseball greats as Mays, Carew, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett, Albert Pujois and Derek Jeter.
This marked the eighth time Wakefield was nominated by the Red Sox, but the first time he's actually won.
The 44-year-old righty was recognized for his selfless actions on Thursday, accepting the award at a news conference at AT&T Park in San Francisco prior to Game 2 of the World Series between the Giants and the Texas Rangers.
When you think of Tim Wakefield, you think of two things: his dependability and his famous knuckle-ball that's kept him in the majors all these years.
Wakefield broke into the majors in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Pirates (ironically the team Clemente played his entire career with). He has been with the Red Sox since 1995.
Wakefield has helped those in need in both Boston and his home of Melborne, Florida. Since 2004, the knuckle-baller has been affiliated with Pitching in for Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing specifically earmarked grants designed to improve the lives of children across the New England region. The program encourages kids to participate in special events and to learn crucial life skills.
Every year, Wakefield is among or near the top of the list in community appearances by Red Sox players. Before every Tuesday home game, he runs the Wakefield Warriors program, in which he invites children from the Franciscan Hospital and the Jimmy Fund to visit with him and watch batting practice.
Wakefield and Pitching in For Kids has helped Franciscan Hospital raise more than $900,000. Wakefield participates in the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon, which last year raised $4.5 million.
Wakefield is a 193-game winner in the Majors—179 of those wins coming for the Red Sox. He made the All-Star Game for the first time in 2009 and is the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox. Only Cy Young and Roger Clemens have won more games in a Red Sox uniform than Tim Wakefield.
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