Nationals Baseball: I don't get the Clemente Award

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I don't get the Clemente Award

Bored last night I checked out the list of Roberto Clemente Award winners and saw that there were no stiffs among these guys.  This surprised me, because surely the act of being charitable and deeply involved in service does not go hand in hand with talent level.  Then I read the definition of the award.
... recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team.

Oh.  So in essence it's kind of like the MVP award.  That goes to the best player with the qualification that that player is on a team vying for a playoff spot.   The Clemente award goes to the player with the best character, the qualification being that player is also a pretty good major leaguer, too.  (OK maybe not Harold Reynolds - but it did come after a couple of years where he was fantastic in the field)

Not to be a jerk - I'm sure these guys all deserve praise - but should that really be what this award is about?  On the page talking about this year's award they start by listing the important traits of who should be up for this award. Character. Responsibility. Generosity. Dedication. Humanitarian. Hero.  Nowhere do they say "All-Star Caliber Talent". It shouldn't matter.

Trying to wrap my head around why it would matter all I can think of is they don't want to "sully" the award named after a great player like Clemente by giving it to the Jamey Carrolls or Joe Horgans of the world. That the award is trying to find other Clementes, other caring superstars.  That's fine and all I guess, but then the award isn't about service as much as it is about praising which superstar can deign to take the time out of their busy schedules to help others.  It doesn't feel right for this type of award. It's like if they were giving out an award to the most charitable woman in Hollywood and included a provision that read "No oldies or fatties". 

I would like to tell you to then go vote for the worst player available but that misses the point too.  These are the people up for the award so if you are into voting for things like this read through and vote for who you think deserves it the most.  (Ian Desmond is the Nats' nominee this year.  Yes he might also be the worst player up for it but don't let that influence you.)


calindc said...

Winners Since 2000

2000 Al Leiter (No MVP votes, No Cy Young votes)

2001 Curt Schilling (10th in MVP, Runner up for Cy Young)

2002 Jim Thome (7th in MVP)

2003 Jamie Moyer (No MVP votes, 5th in Cy Young)

2004 Edgar Martínez (No MVP votes)

2005 John Smoltz (No MVP votes, No Cy Young votes)

2006 Carlos Delgado (12th in MVP)

2007 Craig Biggio (No MVP votes)

2008 Albert Pujols (Won MVP)

2009 Derek Jeter (3rd in MVP)

2010 Tim Wakefield (No MVP votes, no Cy Young votes)

2011 Ian Desmond (HAHA made you look)

Stats taken from for the last one, of course :-)

While certainly no fatties here, only Pujols won two awards the same year.

Harper said...

I don't think it's a strict "Who's great that year" thing going on - more of a who is generally a great player. Basically you have to be a multiple all-star to be worthy of this award.

calindc said...

Kinda like Roberto Clemente...

calindc said...

I agree that it's not truly "Who's the best off the field person, but they/we will never vote for a Mendoza line/AAAA player for an award named after one of the game's greatest.

calindc said...

Not even Martin Luther Ghandi Jesus Jr. could come into the majors, hit .220 and expect to win the Clemente award.

Harper said...

I get it I guess. I just don't like it. There are plenty award for the superstar on the field. Why not truly have one for the superstars off it?