CLEVELAND -- Time is money, money is money, and Indians third baseman Jhonny Peralta has given plenty of both to local charities over the years. Peralta, one of the Indians' most active players in the community, is being honored for his efforts. The Tribe has named Peralta its nominee for the 2009 Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet. The Clemente Award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. The award, of course, is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder, whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.
Fans can participate in the selection process of the overall winner of the award now through Oct. 4. The fan ballot winner will be tallied as one vote among those cast by a special selection panel of baseball dignitaries and media members. The panel includes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Pirates' Hall of Fame right fielder whose spirit and goodwill always will be remembered. The winner will be announced during the World Series. Voting fans also will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2009 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy will be announced. Peralta has donated his time and money to a number of charities, including LakeShore Day Camp and the Special Olympics. He said he feels a special responsibility to help kids in need. "I like to help kids," he said. "They know who you are, and it means a lot to help them." LakeShore Day Camp serves children with special learning needs and their families. The camp offers a happy, non-competitive atmosphere in which children work with a caring staff to realize their potential. The Special Olympics contribute to the physical, social and psychological development of those with developmental disabilities. Through their athletic experiences, they gain confidence and build a positive self-image that carries over into other areas of their life. Peralta has also been a regular participant in the Indians' annual "Shop With A Pro" program, in which Tribe team members are paired with area members of the Boys and Girls Club to shop at a local Dick's Sporting Goods store. The program is part of Cleveland Indians Charities, which raises funds to provide the opportunity to create and execute youth education and recreational opportunities. CIC has donated more than $6 million to youth-oriented agencies and organizations in Northeast Ohio since 1989, and Peralta makes an annual donation to CIC as part of his contract with the Indians. Peralta was also the Indians High Achievers Kids Club spokesperson last season, and he participates in various meet-and-greet opportunities at Progressive Field. Peralta's wife, Molly, who is a Cleveland native, has also been active in these endeavors. "She likes to do that," Peralta said. "They ask me all the time, 'Can we do this?' and I say, 'Yeah.' She's real good with all that."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.