Major League Baseball announced that Clayton Kershaw was named the Dodgers' nominee for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Kershaw is one of the 30 finalists for this prestigious award, given annually to the player who best represents the game of baseball through their contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Make the jump to learn more about Kershaw's charity as well as the Clemente Award itself.
Kershaw's charitable work has been mainly focused on an organization called Arise Africa, which raises money to build orphanages in the impoverished nation of Zambia. Clayton made a special visit to Zambia during this past offseason with his wife, Ellen, who has made six trips there herself, and is a place they hold close to their hearts. When they returned, Kershaw came up with the idea to donate $100 for every strikeout to the organization, in hopes of building a brand new orphanage for the kids. Kershaw currently leads the National League with 231 strikeouts, raising $47,530 to the charity thus far (www.kershawschallenge.com). Clayton was honored to represent the Dodgers for this award:
"I'm thrilled the Dodgers have recognized me for it," Kershaw said. "When you're in the position we're in of getting to play baseball, you have an opportunity to help a lot of people. This Kershaw Challenge thing that my wife and I have started putting together has been a huge blessing for us. I'm grateful to the Dodgers for being so helpful.''
The Roberto Clemente Award pays tribute to Roberto's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. The 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer for which the award is named died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in his native Nicaragua, and was well known for his philanthropic personality.