Washington Nationals Shortstop Ian Desmond was named the team’s 2011 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.

 Desmond speaking at Ground Breaking Ceremony
for the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, 5/31/2011
(Photo by Cheryl Nichols/NatsNewsNetwork)

Ian Desmond is one of the 30 Club nominees who are finalists for the national award, which is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field. Friday, September 16 will mark the tenth annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.


The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet recognizes players who best represent the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions to their Clubs. The award 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 pays tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character by recognizing talented current players who truly understand the value of helping others.

Roberto Clemente statue at PNC Park in Pittsburgh

Ian Desmond has been very involved in community service in the DC community since he was called up.  Desmond spoke at the end of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Youth Baseball Academy groundbreaking ceremony and his excitement and dedication to the project is evident through his pre-prepared eloquent words. We followed up with him after the ceremony as well. "This really touches home for me. This is something I wish that in my town, my community we had something like this. There are other kids there that fell short of their goals that I grew up with. If they had a program like this they would have been up here with me." 

“Ian’s passion for revitalizing baseball in the D.C. area is obvious any time he visits with youngsters at local baseball camps,” said Israel Negron, the Nationals Senior Director for Community Relations. “It’s great to have an ambassador like Ian who is always willing to spend his personal time getting kids excited about baseball.”

Groundbreaking ceremony, 5/31/2011
(Photo by Cheryl Nichols/NatsNewsNetwork)

Also, former Nationals Outfielder Josh Willingham was nominated again this year. Willingham is now with the Oakland Athletics.  "The Hammer" has devoted much of his time to enhancing the foundation he created with his wife Ginger in 2009. The Josh Willingham Foundation is committed to providing life-changing opportunities and experiences to underserved children in the communities in which the couple has lived throughout Josh’s career, primarily focusing on their hometown of Florence, Alabama.

In addition, Willingham received the Dave Stewart Community Service Award (annual award given to an A's player) for raising more than $100,000 to aid relief efforts in Alabama after the devastating tornadoes ripped through that state in April 2011. Congrats Josh.

The Washington Nationals will host Roberto Clemente Day, on Friday, September 16 when they host the Florida Marlins at 7:05pm. Desmond will be recognized prior to the game in an on-field ceremony.

Fans can vote online and participate in the process of selecting the national award recipient by visiting www.chevy.com/clemente from September 13 to October 9 to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees.