Union Rescue Mission was honored last night to be the charity of choice for James Loney, star 1st Baseman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, as he received the team’s Roberto Clemente Award, sponsored by Chevrolet. I have provided excerpts from MLB.com below to explain this honor.
The Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to a player who demonstrates the values Clemente displayed in his commitment to community and understanding the value of helping others. Each club nominated a player.
Roberto Clemente was a legendary figure both on and off the field. In baseball, he was labeled “complete” for his incredible offensive and defensive skills. But it was his compassion off the field that redefined the term.
Clemente once said, “Anytime you have an opportunity to make things better and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on this Earth.”
On September 30, 1972, Roberto Clemente hit a double to earn his 3,000th Major League hit, placing him in an elite group of baseball greats. No one knew it at the time, but that two-bagger would represent the last regular season hit for Roberto Clemente. That New Year’s Eve, Roberto and four others boarded a plane to deliver relief supplies to earthquake-striken Nicaragua. Shortly after takeoff the plane exploded and crashed in the Atlantic Ocean. There were no survivors.
“Roberto Clemente played the game of baseball with a great passion that could only be matched by his unrelenting commitment to making a difference in the lives of those in need. People saw him as a great ballplayer and humanitarian.”
friend and former Pirates teammate
Roberto was my favorite ballplayer growing up, as I even used to swing at high pitches and try to “tomahawk” line drives and run the bases with the passion of Roberto Clemente.
When our Chairman of the Board David Dow, an avid baseball fan, heard of this honor, he wrote to me;
“Wow, where do I start! Whom do I congratulate first? That is one coveted award, made more coveted in my heart by virtue of Clemente being my late son’s favorite ballplayer (Mark wore a Pittsburgh Pirate hat until it was grimy and smelly.) Clemente died being the kind of humanitarian to which we all should aspire.”
I met James Loney during his rookie year, on Christian Day at Dodger Stadium, and he was very friendly and outgoing that day as he had his picture taken with those of us from KKLA Radio. He and his wonderful teammate, Andre Ethier, have taken an active interest in URM. Andre has even grilled hot dogs on the roof with us and James Loney has a wonderful outreach with young people in Los Angeles through Loney’s Lounge.
Last night James honored us by handing us a check for $7,500 as the designee of his award. But, if you, our friends, go to this website
Vote for James Loney of the Dodgers for the MLB Overall Roberto Clemente Award, and he wins, URM will receive a gift of $30,000!