CLEVELAND -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis does not take being mentioned in the same breath as Roberto Clemente lightly. Kipnis understands that such recognition is a privilege.
On Tuesday, Kipnis was named the Indians' nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. The award is given to the player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
"Anyone who gets into the same sentence with him is obviously honored," said Kipnis, who is one of 30 nominees. "You try to be a good person and a good teammate on and off the field. Everyone knows that's what he was. He is a role model for that."
Fans can vote for the Roberto Clemente Award recipient at MLB.com/Clemente Award and register for a trip to this season's World Series.
Kipnis, who is in his first full season with the Tribe, has volunteered a significant amount of time for Cleveland Indians Charities. The young second baseman is also the ballclub's spokesman for the organization's annual glove drive. Kipnis was honored on Tuesday in a pregame ceremony, which included a $7,500 donation to CIC by Chevrolet.
"Jason's personalities on the field and off the field have made him a fan favorite in a short time," Steve Frohwerk, the director of Cleveland Indians Charities, said in a press release. "During Spring Training, he visited with cancer patients and made hospital visits with teammates. Throughout the season, he takes the time daily to sign autographs, greet groups at the ballpark, and chat with kids who are that day's Honorary Bat Kid."
Kipnis felt there were multiple players in Cleveland's clubhouse worthy of the honor.
"There's a lot of guys on this team that I know personally could have been good recipients of that award, too," Kipnis said. "They do off-field activities and help out where they can, and give up some of their free time to visit people in hospitals and stuff like that. I'm definitely honored to accept the nomination and represent Cleveland."