Ian Kennedy Nominated for Roberto Clemente Award
Ian Kennedy has been nominated by the San Diego Padres as their candidate for the Roberto Clemente Award. Each year, each of the 30 major league teams selects the one member of their ballclub who has best represented the team on and off the field. Off-the-field contributions to the community are weighed heavily in determining the nominees and the eventual Clemente Award winner.
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Kennedy was selected by the Padres for his involvement in bringing military families to Padres games. On five occasions this season, Kennedy and his wife, Allison, arranged to have deployed servicemen and women and their families visit Petco Park on game day, meeting with them, giving them goodie bags filled with Padres memorabilia, taking pictures and signing autographs, and then bringing them onto the field for batting practice. The families were then escorted to a fully-catered suite to watch the games. All expenses were paid for by the Kennedys.
Allison’s brother is on active duty in the Navy, and the Kennedys really enjoy giving back.
“The servicemen and woman and their families – that’s who we were trying to cater to. It’s just an honor to be able to be recognized for it. I don’t do it for the recognition, so it was really cool and humbling to be honored,” said Kennedy after the game.
In a prepared statement, Kennedy added “My wife and I believe ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ Treating these families to an evening at the baseball game pales in comparison to the blessings we receive every day from their collaborative service to our country.”
Kennedy was honored in a pre-game ceremony before Wednesday’s game.
The final recipient of the award will be determined in part by fan voting. To vote for Kennedy, or to read about the contributions of all the nominees, visit ChevyBaseball.com.
The award is named for Pittsburgh Pirates star right-fielder Roberto Clemente, who devoted huge amounts of time and effort to charity work in his native Puerto Rico and Latin America. Clemente was a superstar on the field as well as off, collecting 3,000 hits in his illustrious career. Clemente died in an airplane crash just a few months after collecting number 3,000, while traveling to Nicaragua to assist victims of an earthquake.
Clemente was an example of how athletes, and all people, can use their time and resources to help others. It is wonderful that Major League Baseball created this annual award to honor those players, like Kennedy, who understand the importance of giving back to the community.