Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler follows through on a three-run home run against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Thursday, July 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Major League Baseball and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, today announced that Billy Butler was named the Royals 2013 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Tomorrow marks the 12th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Butler is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet pays tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. The 15-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Butler is involved in a number of community outreach efforts in the Kansas City area, including extensive work with the Bishop Sullivan Center. The center, created in 1972 by three area Catholic parishes in response to the growing number of people living in poverty in their neighborhood, is one of the largest providers of emergency assistance in the Kansas City area. The Bishop Sullivan Center, along with the St. James Place, now operates two food pantries, a community kitchen, employment services, a clothes closet, elderly services, and financial emergency assistance.
Butler and his wife, Katie, created the Hit-It-A-Ton program in 2008 to help feed the hungry in Kansas City. The matching donation program, in which individuals and corporate sponsors match the Silver Slugger Award winner’s donation for each home run and double he hits, is now in its sixth year and continues to grow.
Entering the 2013 season, the Hit-It-A-Ton program had raised more than $380,000 (or over 1,441 tons of food), provided an average of 1,194 families with groceries each month and allowed the Bishop Sullivan Center to serve 289,825 meals in the community kitchen.
This season the Butlers also created Billy’s Hit-It-A-Ton BBQ Sauce, which is sold in local grocery stores and select retail outlets with all proceeds going toward the Bishop Sullivan Center. In addition, Butler participates in several events for the organization, including Billy’s Breakfast and Rally Sauce Friday.
As the Royals honoree, Butler will receive an award and donation to the charity of his choice, Bishop Sullivan Center, from Chevrolet. For more information on the Hit-It-A-Ton program, visit www.hit-it-a-ton.org.
The distinguished list of past national Roberto Clemente Award recipients includes 14 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:
Cal Ripken, Jr.+
+ Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame
** Originally known as the Commissioner’s Award (prior to 1973)
Beginning tomorrow on Roberto Clemente Day, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet recipient by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends on Sunday, October 6th and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2013 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced. The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel.
Clubs playing at home on September 17 will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies, while visiting Clubs will honor their nominees before another September home game. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and the official dugout lineup cards.