New York, NY – New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera is among six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award.
The award is named for the founding executive director of the MLB Players Association and is bestowed upon the player "whose on-field and off-field performance most inspires others to higher levels of achievement by displaying as much passion to give back to others as he shows between the lines on the baseball diamond."
Rivera is joined by St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Indians outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher and Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez. Swisher and Ibanez are former teammates of Rivera, who has announced that 2013 will be his final big league season.
One player from each of baseball's six divisions was selected as a finalist.
Rivera's charitable foundation provides children from impoverished families with an education that will prepare them for the future. In the last few years, the Mariano Rivera Foundation has extended its program to reach elementary school age children, as well, by supplying the essential school items such as backpacks, books, notebooks, pencils, rulers and other utensils at the beginning of the school year.
Swisher, through Swish's Wishes with his wife Joanna, partnered with Magical Builders to help rebuild the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County (N.J.) devastated by Hurricane Sandy. In May, Swisher donated $25,000 to the FBI Citizens Academy Foundation (FBICAF) in support of the FBI's Child ID Kit program. Each kit included an inkless fingerprinting card, a DNA collection envelope and a cutout wallet card. Lastly, Nick and Joanna donated $75,000 to Providence House during the pre-game ceremonies of Opening Day.
Ibanez chaired the annual Cystic Fibrosis Mariners Care Golf Tournament for the sixth year, raising more than $220,000. This year also marked the sixth year that Ibanez has served as a spokesman for the "Refuse to Abuse" campaign with the Washington State Coalition against Domestic Violence. He is also a supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Utley and his wife Jen created The Utley Foundation in 2011 to help prevent animal cruelty. Their mission is to educate the community in the proper treatment of animals and raise funds for the fight against animal neglect. Their signature charity event, "Utley's All-Star Animals" is held annually and is used as a way to raise money for the Pennsylvania SPCA. The event attracts close to 500 people, and has raised well over half a million dollars for the PSPCA.
Beltran helped build a $10 million school, located in the municipality of Florida, Puerto Rico, in 2011. The academy is a fully bilingual high school that strives for athletic and academic excellence. Each year, Beltran donates 10 percent of his salary toward his foundation. During his tenure with the New York Mets, Beltran was an active supporter of Harlem RBI and donated $500 to the organization for every RBI he hit with the Mets in 2010, totaling $250,000.
Gonzalez and his wife founded the Adrian & Betsy Gonzalez Foundation, which supports underprivileged youth in areas of athletics, education and wealth. The ABGF has supported various charities such as San Diego's Rady Children's Hospital, San Pasqual Academy, as well as Kids Included Together and Orfanatorio de Mazatlan. The Adrian Gonzalez Scholarship program awards high school seniors with funds to further their education via renewable scholarships to four-year colleges and universities.
Atlanta's Chipper Jones, in his final season of 2012, was last year's winner.