Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has made a big impression with his play on the field. Now, Rollins seems to be getting some recognition for what he has done in the community.
Major League Baseball and Chevrolet has recently announced that Rollins was named the Phillies nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. The award was established by MLB to honor Clemente’s legacy and to recognize the local club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.
Rollins is one of 30 club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a MLB player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
The award pays tribute to Clemente’s achievement and character by recognizing current players who clearly understand the importance of helping others. The award is named for the 15-time MLB all-star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
The Jimmy Rollins Family Foundation, which began in 2009, strives to help children and young adults living with arthritis by providing funds and awareness about the disease. The foundation also supports families that are struggling financially to help their children in extracurricular activities.
In an effort to raise awareness and funds to benefit the Rollins Family Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation, Rollins and his wife, Johari, host an annual Celebrity BaseBOWL Tournament at Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes in Philadelphia. The event, which raised more than $178,000 in August and nearly $1 million since 2006, has helped send children to Camp JRA (Juveniles Reaching Achievement), a week-long camp for kids ages 8-18 with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
The foundation hosted its first offseason fundraiser called Havana Nights in November 2011 to benefit Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania. The Cuban-themed evening featured Rollins and celebrity guests, a Cuban Salsa Band, dancing and other entertainment including a silent auction. The event raised more than $175,000.
Rollins developed JRoll’s Aces in 2007 to reward children in disadvantaged areas excelling in the classroom. Rollins meets with groups on the field during batting practice, answers questions and signs autographs. He also provides each participant with a game ticket, a t-shirt and a food voucher.
In addition to his other efforts, Rollins has honored top readers since 2002 with the JRoll’s readers program for their dedication to literacy during the summer months. He annually helps the Phillies salute Jackie Robinson’s legacy as well as honors the surviving members of the Philadelphia Stars Negro League team.
Rollins will be recognized before the Phillies play the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 23 on the field at Citizens Bank Park. In addition to being honored as the club’s nominee, he will receive the Phillies Community Service Award.
“It is a real honor to be the 2012 Phillies’ Roberto Clemente Award nominee,” Rollins said in a statement. “Just to be considered for this award means so much to me when I think about the man named for it and all he stood for. I hope that the efforts of my foundation will help continue the tradition of ballplayers giving back to the community for many years to come.”