Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was named the winner of the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award. Rizzo was presented with the hardware at Minute Maid Park prior to Game 3 of the World Series.
Each team nominates a current player to be considered for the prestigious award, which is given annually to the player who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions on and off the field. The Los Angeles Dodgers voted Justin Turner as their nominee.
The Roberto Clemente Award winner is selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel that features individuals connected to the game. It includes commissioner Robert Manfred, representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB Advanced Media, as well as Roberto’s widow Vera Clemente.
There was also a five-day stretch in which fans could vote for a winner, which in turn counted as one vote among those cast by the ribbon panel.
Rizzo is renowned for his charitable efforts and work with pediatric centers within Chicago hospitals. A Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, Rizzo has organized cook-offs, walk-offs and laugh-offs to raise mosey for cancer research and awareness.
Rizzo’s foundation, formed in 2012, donated north of $4 million thi syear to establish the Hope 44 program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. The 28-year-old was previously nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2014, and this year is his first time being named the recipient.
Rick Sutcliffe (1987) and Sammy Sosa (1998) are previous winners. Clayton Kershaw (2012) and Curtis Granderson (2016) are current Dodgers who have won the Roberto Clemente Award since its inception in 1971. Though, Granderson received the honor while a member of the New York Mets.