This automatically makes his a nominee for the national award, which was last won by a Dodgers player in 1981 (Steve Garvey). This is a really big deal, because it speaks to a player who realizes the importance of giving back.
Here’s the official release that was just sent out by the club
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced today that first baseman James Loney was named the Dodgers’ recipient of the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy. He is now one of 30 Major League Club nominees for the national 2008 Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who combines outstanding skills on the baseball field with devoted work in the community. Tomorrow will mark the seventh annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball in 2002 to honor the memory of Roberto Clemente and to officially recognize local Club recipients of the Roberto Clemente Award.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy is named for the 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The award perpetuates Clemente’s legacy and character by recognizing current-day players who truly understand the value of helping others.
Loney’s work in the community this season has been highlighted by his commitment to the local Los Angeles chapter of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), a program that seeks to provide area youth an opportunity to play baseball and softball in an organized league, and is fully supported by MLB and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In June, Loney, an RBI alumnus, launched his “Loney’s Lounge” program, where 40 kids from RBI Los Angeles attended a video game party with the first baseman and several of his teammates in the Dodger Stadium Baseline Club. All the youngsters were also treated to tickets for the afternoon game that day, lunch, and a t-shirt. Subsequently, the “Loney’s Lounge” community program took place four more times through the season and culminates tonight. The program provided exclusive Baseline Box Club Seats, a meet and greet with Loney, and “Loney’s Lounge” t-shirts for youngsters from RBI Los Angeles.
In addition to his work with RBI, Loney participated in the Dodgers’ Community Caravan to kick off the season and attended the RBI Hall of Fame dinner, where he was honored as one of the stars of the future. During the season, the Houston, TX native took part in the Dodgers’ Youth Baseball camp, where he talked to more than 140 campers. Additionally, Loney, on his accord, visited Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA in July and met with kids in the pediatric ward at White Memorial Hospital in East Los Angeles during the month of August. His activities didn’t stop there, as the Dodger first baseman also spent time at City of Hope Hospital, Washington Accelerated Elementary, Panda Inn, and City Walk at Universal Studios for a variety of community events.
Loney also co-hosted the Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza at Lucky Strike Hollywood on August 18. A portion of the proceeds from that evening went to the Mattel Children’s Hospital and in addition to inviting his teammates, coaches and celebrities to the event, Loney bowled with the youngsters from Mattel throughout the evening.
Fans can once again participate in the selection process of the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy. From September 3 through October 5 fans are encouraged to log on to www.chevy.com/clemente and vote for one of the 30 Club nominees.
“I applaud the 2008 Club winners of the Roberto Clemente Award for their performance on the field as well as their commitment to the community,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “For the second season, Chevy will join us to remember the life and work of Roberto Clemente, and recognize this group of 30 players who represent the game of baseball, both on and off the field, in the spirit of this Award.”
As the official sponsor of the Roberto Clemente Award, Chevy will donate $7,500 to the charity of choice of each of the 30 Club recipients. Loney has chosen the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles and there will be a special check presentation on the field tomorrow evening before the Dodgers game with the Padres at Dodger Stadium. Union Rescue Mission is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor and homeless. Established in 1891, URM is one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States and is the oldest in Los Angeles. Chevy will also be making a $30,000 donation to the charity of choice of the national Roberto Clemente Award winner and a $30,000 contribution to Roberto Clemente Sports City, a not-for-profit organization in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Former Dodger great Steve Garvey was the National Roberto Clemente Award winner in 1981 and is the only player to win the National Award while with the Dodgers.