Each Club nominates one current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente's achievements and character. Wednesday, September 7th marks the 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially acknowledge local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.
Eric is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award. The All-Star MVP and Gold Glover is widely recognized for his on-the-field performance, but he's made a name for himself off the field as well. His involvement has grown in recent years, starting with Big Brothers Big Sisters, several Royals outreach events and, most notably, Noah's Bandage Project.
After meeting six-year old Noah Wilson in the hospital while he was undergoing cancer treatments, Eric stayed close with the family and hosted them to Royals games. When Noah died unexpectedly in June 2015, Eric immediately got involved with his charity to keep his legacy alive. Noah's Bandage Project, which collects boxes of kid-friendly bandages for children and raises money for pediatric cancer research, has hosted numerous bandage collections and events to raise funds, including one that was just held at Kauffman Stadium. Eric is very passionate about the project and has made personal donations and appearances at events to help increase awareness and strengthen its prominence in the Kansas City community.
Since 2012, Eric has also been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. Through his program, "Step Up to The Plate with Eric Hosmer," he has hosted "Bigs" and "Littles" to batting practice and games, lent his support to an on-line fundraising effort and attended various fundraisers. In 2014, he hosted the wine event, "Uncork for a Cause," which benefitted the Greater Kansas City Fire Fighters Local 42 Community Assistance organization. He has also been involved with Royals community programs, including Royals Charities Diamond of Dreams, the Braden's Hope Calendar and Dream Factory of Kansas City.
"It's a tremendous honor to be recognized, to see what you're doing outside of this game," Eric said. "We're all put in such a very special position, and I think our team does a very good job of using that to help the community throughout Kansas City. And to be the nominee for the team is a tremendous honor."
Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day (September 7), fans can participate in the process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on social media for the first time by posting voting hashtags to Twitter and Facebook. Royals fans can vote for Eric Hosmer by using #VoteHosmer. He will be recognized in a special on-field pregame ceremony when the team returns back to The K on Monday, September 12.
To enhance Roberto Clemente Day and celebrate Clemente's enduring legacy in 2016, Major League Baseball worked with the 30 Clubs to establish SEAT 21. SEAT 21 will be a designated seat in each ballpark on Roberto Clemente Day (or alternate home game for Clubs on the road) dedicated to a well-known or local hero originally from the community who will be recognized in addition to the Club Clemente Award nominee. Recognizing individuals who embody the humanitarian spirit of Roberto Clemente is a natural extension of the current honor bestowed upon players each year and gives MLB and the Clubs the opportunity to further extend the message of service and commitment.
Pedro Zamora was elected to sit in the first-ever Royals SEAT 21. Pedro represents the spirit of Roberto Clemente through his willingness to help others at any given time. Through his involvement with many organizations, he has been able to make a significant impact on the Latino community in Kansas City and make the city itself a better place.
As the Executive Director of the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, he and the organization provide bi-lingual entrepreneur business development as well as computer and financial literacy training. He also organizes the annual spring cleaning campaign in the Sacred Heart neighborhood, "Sweep It Up to Keep It Up," which assists elderly neighbors with bulky item removal, tree trimming, and minor home repairs. Pedro is actively involved with the Alta Vista Charter School, the Latino Civic Engagement Collaborative and Guadalupe Center. He has also served on a number of committees, including the City of Olathe Latino Coalition and Downtown Council Planning and Economic Development Committee. Throughout all of his time spent working to improve the community, he coached youth baseball for sixteen years.
The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the "Commissioner's Award" but was renamed to the "Roberto Clemente Award" in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Each September since 2002, Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day.