Hanrahan Nats' Clemente nominee
Reliever's tireless efforts in community garner him recognition
WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Joel Hanrahan is only in his first full season in the Major Leagues, and he already has given back to the community off the field. No wonder Hanrahan is considered a candidate for this year's Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet.
For example, this was Hanrahan's first year working with the American Red Cross. When Hanrahan saw the devastation created by the floods in Iowa this summer, he took on this cause and spearheaded a campaign in the Washington, D.C., area to raise awareness and money for the organization's disaster relief efforts.
Hanrahan, an Iowa native, mobilized an aggressive fundraising campaign at Nationals Park, which included television and radio. He helped organize an online auction with valuable game-used items and experience packages, recorded public service announcements for television and radio and promoted a week-long collection at the gates at Nationals Park. Hanrahan's efforts helped raise $11,000 for the cause.
"The whole driving force behind the Red Cross fundraising effort for the Midwest flood victims was his idea," said Barbra Silva, the Nationals' director of community relations. "He approached us and said, 'I really want to do something for this.' He took it upon himself. He spearheaded it. He drove it. We were more than happy to support it."
The Clemente 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 will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.
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.
Hanrahan has done a lot more than helping than helping flood victims. He was an integral part of the 2008 Man and Woman of the Year Campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society -- National Capital Area Region. The Man and Woman of the Year Campaign is a fundraising competition organized by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Every year, hundreds of candidates compete locally for the title in over 40 cities nationwide, raising money for the Society over a 10-week period. Titles are awarded to both the man and the woman in each city who raises the most money for the Society. Money raised will benefit the Society's mission, to cure blood cancers and to improve the lives of patients and their families. Hanrahan donated his time and money to participate in events benefiting the campaign.
Hanrahan also has participated in a number of events and activities for the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, such as attending the annual Dream Gala, and giving of his time to experience packages donated to the event, as well as playing an active role in the Nationals' community outreach efforts.
Hanrahan is always available to make school visits, baseball camp visits, on-field meet and greets with numerous non-profit organizations, including military, that make trips to the ballpark and lends a hand with the Nationals' summer reading program done in partnership with D.C. Public Library.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.