For a third straight season, a former Navarro Bulldog baseball player is a finalist for Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award.
Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis is Baltinore’s nominee for the honor as the major leaguer who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and the individual’s contribution to his team” as voted by fans and media members.
Nominations for all 30 major league teams were released Tuesday, Sept 5. Each team will recognize its nominee in pre-game ceremonies Wednesday (The 16th Roberto Clemente Day). The overall MLB winner will be announced during the 2017 World Series. Originally given as the Commissioner’s Award in 1971, The Roberto Clemente Award honors the memory of the former Pittsburgh Pirate Hall of Famer who was killed in a plane crash while delivering supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
A Longview native, Davis was a 2006 fifth-round draft choice of the Texas Rangers.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Davis told MASN’s Steve Melewski on Tuesday afternoon. “For as long as I can remember, it’s been Adam (Jones, as the team’s nominee). It is something that you, as a person and a player who is obviously in the spotlight most of the time. It is pretty much our responsibility to give back to the community and do everything we can.”
Davis earned the distinction due to his family’s ongoing work with many charities in and around the Baltimore community, including the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, Casey Cares, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), Christian Youth Athletics and the Orioles REACH Gameday Experience Program.
“Once you start getting involved with organizations and people in the city, you really develop a heart for them and some relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime,” Davis said. “My wife and I have really enjoyed our time with Casey Cares, with the hospital and with a number of organizations around the city. It’s nice to be recognized.”
Davis was asked what is the best aspect of his community work:
“Just getting to know the kids and their families and the people in the city of Baltimore,” he said. “I grew up in Texas but feel like I’m a pretty big part of this city. Just getting to know the people and where they’re from and what they’ve been through. Some are not any different from you but they were dealt a bad hand. They always seem to be a lot more optimistic and positive than I am and that’s refreshing.”
Baltimore’s selection of Davis follows up two years of Boston Red Sox nominations for Brock Holt. Holt, the former Stephenville, NC and Rice University product, served as co-captain for the Jimmy Fund, which raises money for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
The 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner was Curtis Granderson, then of the New York Mets.