Major League Baseball today announced that Steven Matz was named the NEW YORK METS’ 2018 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB Club who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Each Club nominates one current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. Wednesday, September 5th marks the seventeenth 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.
Matz is one of the 30 Club nominees for the annual award. Here are some reasons why: Every Wednesday during the season, Matz – who wears number 32 – invited 32 First Responders consisting of NYPD and NYFD among other groups to the ballpark along with one guest. They watched batting practice, received an exclusive Tru32 t-shirt and then got a chance to meet Steven. The Long Island native took a photo and signed autographs for each and every honoree – almost 300 during the season. The honorees and their guests then stayed for the game.
Steven’s respect for first responders extends beyond Citi Field. He has visited numerous New York City firehouses and interacted with military service members and their families at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.
Earlier this year, Steven and some teammates spent the day with firefighters at Engine 69 Ladder 28 in Harlem weeks after the tragic line-of-duty death of Michael Davidson. Steven got to know Davidson’s wife, Eileen, and their four children, along with the men and women Davidson worked with at the firehouse.
Upon hearing the story of the late FDNY Lieutenant Christopher Raguso, who died in March in a helicopter crash near Syria while serving in the Air National Guard, Steven donated money to the FDNY Foundation to help Raguso’s two young children. Steven also created a video tribute to Raguso that aired on Mets social media channels on Memorial Day.
He also was one of the first players to volunteer for the Mets Spring Training Clinic for Champions in February in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He worked with Special Olympic athletes on pitching and helped create wonderful memories for more than 80 youngsters.
Steven has also traveled to rural Honduras to assist orphans and underprivileged children, visited patients at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, worked with Citigroup to support area-little league organizations, and participated in the MLBPA Players Trust equipment-matching program to provide youngsters in the area with the equipment they need to play the game of baseball.
“I think it’s a true honor, to be in a group with as many guys who have been nominated in the past, as well as with Roberto Clemente himself. He was a bigger than life hero not just on the field but off the field as well,” Matz said about the nomination.
On Friday, September 7th, Matz will receive the Award on Citi Field. In addition, he will present three organizations (Hispanic Brotherhood, El Puente, and Five Town Community Center) with checks as part of the Latino Leaders program, which aims to motivate, cultivate and empower Latino students to become exemplary leaders in their schools and their communities.
The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, who will be announced during the 2018 World Series, will be selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel that includes individuals connected to the game. The blue ribbon panel includes 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 on Roberto Clemente Day, 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 from Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday, September 5th, until Tuesday, September 18th. 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 link: 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. Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day each September since 2002.
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