Adam Wainwright might be unable to pitch because of an Achilles injury, but that hasn't stopped him from pursuing his humanitarian efforts. And Major League Baseball has taken notice.
Wainwright was recognized Monday as the St. Louis Cardinals' 2015 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, MLB announced.
Wainwright is one of the 30 club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a major league player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. The Roberto Clemente Award pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.
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Wainwright is heavily involved in Big League Impact Inc., a fantasy football-based non-profit organization with the mission to raise money to help provide basic human needs such as food, clean water, medical care and shelter in an effort to restore dignity and hope to people in the local community and around the globe.
Wainwright has helped out communities in Uganda, Tanzania, the Philippines, Haiti, Honduras and Liberia. In the first two years in 2013 and 2014, Big League Impact contributed more than $600,000 to people in need.
To accomplish this, Wainwright offers a fun, exciting and one-of-a-kind experience that combines the baseball and football communities, involving some of the best professional athletes in the two sports participating with fans in a competitive fantasy football setting. The proceeds support such organizations as Operation Food Search and Water Missions International.
During the 2015 season, Big League Impact involved eight major league cities with headlining players including St. Louis, Washington, D.C. (Max Scherzer), Cincinnati (Skip Schumaker), New York (David Wright), Atlanta (John Smoltz), Minneapolis (Kyle Gibson), San Francisco (Hunter Pence) and Pittsburgh (Neil Walker).
Wainwright also hosts "Wainwright's Winners," a program that invites kids to games at Busch Stadium where they receive a game ticket, concessions and a chance to meet Wainwright for an autograph and dugout visit. The program has benefited more than 1,000 kids since 2008.
"Adam Wainwright's determination on the mound is surpassed only by his passion and vision for helping others, both here in the St. Louis community and abroad," said Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. "His mission trips to Honduras and Haiti are just one example of his philanthropic reach internationally. He gives his money and time to multiple effective charities and supports our team's charitable foundation, Cardinals Care, and their mission of 'Caring For Kids' locally. Nobody embodies the characteristics sought for in a candidate for the Roberto Clemente Award better than Adam Wainwright."
Past Roberto Clemente Award winners include former Cardinals Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran.
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day (Sept. 16), fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 club nominees. Voting ends on Oct. 9, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2015 World Series, where the winner of the award will be announced.