‘Tex’ is Yanks’ Clemente Award nominee for 2015

Mark Teixeira is the Yankees’ 2015 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Wednesday, Sept. 16, marks the 14th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to recognize officially the 30 club finalists for the award given annually to a major league player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

Teixeira, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a right shinbone fracture, has been involved in charitable endeavors throughout his major-league career. In 2006, the first baseman and his wife, Leigh, established the Mark Teixeira Charitable Fund, an initiative that awarded several scholarships to students from multiple high schools in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Three years later, Teixeira served as spokesman for the National Foundation for Cancer Research through the organization’s “Help Strike Out Sun Damage” program. He endowed a scholarship at his alma mater, Mt. St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, to honor his friend, Nick Liberatore, who died in a car accident while the two were in school together. Tex also established the Mark C. Teixeira Athletic Scholarship Fund at Georgia Tech, where he attended college.

Teixeira has been an avid supporter of Harlem RBI, a nonprofit organization in East Harlem, that provides more than 1,700 boys and girls with year-round academic, sports and enrichment programs. In 2010, he became a member of their board of directors and made a donation of $100,000 to the organization’s college preparation program. In 2011, he was honored at Harlem RBI’s “Bid for Kids” gala, which helped raise $2.25 million.

Since then, Teixeira has chaired the event each of the last four years as it has raised a combined $14.8 million. In 2011, he donated $1 million to Harlem RBI and launched his own “Dream Team 25” campaign to call on his fans to raise additional funds for its partnership with DREAM charter school to construct a 450-seat public charter school facility, community center, 87 units of low-income housing and a rebuilt public park. The project is designed to serve as a model for urban development.

In addition, Teixeira, who is the co-chair of the Harlem RBI’s $20 million Capital Campaign and the chair of its Home Run Leadership Council, continues to work with MLB to connect fellow players in support of local RBI programs around the country.

Teixeira has made personal visits to the Harlem facility, reading to students and providing baseball instruction to them. Notably, since Teixeira joined the organization, Harlem RBI has expanded its efforts to reach Mott Haven in the South Bronx, with special attention on the Paterson Houses. This year he organized Yankees teammates Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge along with Harlem RBI youth.

The Yankees will recognize Teixeira’s nomination for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award with an on-field ceremony Thursday, Sept. 24, prior to their 7:05 p.m. game against the White Sox.

Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the winner of the award by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends Friday, Oct. 9, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2015 World Series, where the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.

The concept of honoring players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the Commissioner’s Award but was renamed the Roberto Clemente Award in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Fame right fielder and 15- time All-Star who died in a plane crash New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Yankees players who have received the Clemente Award were Ron Guidry in 1984, Don Baylor in 1985 and Derek Jeter in 2009. Others who played for the Yankees but won the award while with other clubs were Phil Niekro with the Braves in 1980, Dave Winfield with the Twins in 1994, Al Leiter with the Mets in 2000 and Carlos Beltran with the Cardinals in 2013. Leiter’s broadcast partner in the YES Network booth, Ken Singleton, won the award in 1982 with the Orioles.

Among the other winners are Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Larkin, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn.

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