That involvement in the community has made him the Mariners' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet, Ibanez's third straight nomination.The award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder whose spirit and goodwill always will be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972. Ibanez has been a major part of helping host the annual Mariners Care Golf Tournament to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. After bringing in more than $190,000 this year, the tournament has now raised $4.2 million for cystic fibrosis research since it began in 1986. "These kids that are afflicted with this are so courageous," Ibanez said at this year's tournament. "The stuff that they have to go through every day just on a regular basis just to live a semi-normal life is tremendous. And they're inspiring to all of us." During his time in Seattle, Ibanez has also been involved with the "Refuse to Abuse" campaign, which works to encourage a commitment to prevent violence in relationships. He also has supported Esperanze, an organization that supplies health care and educational chances along with other services to poor families in Latin America.
Ibanez and wife Tery have also been involved with the Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program, which helps obtain new books for at-risk children within the state of Washington.Fans can participate in the selection process of the overall winner of the award now through Oct. 5. The fan ballot winner will be tallied as one vote among those cast by a special selection panel of baseball dignitaries and media members. The panel includes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Pirates' Hall of Fame right fielder. The winner will be announced during the World Series.
Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.