CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Sean Marshall doesn't have one specific cause he supports, but prefers to do as much as he can for as many people as he can.
The left-hander is the Cubs' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Since his debut in 2006, Marshall has been involved with Cubs Care, a fund of the McCormick Foundation and Chicago Cubs Charities. He's donated much of his time to helping children who are ill or less fortunate.
Marshall also participates in the Cubs' annual winter caravan, hosting clinics and visiting hospitals and schools. He also has sponsored a team through the Union League Boys & Girls Club and visited children at the local Shriners Hospital for children.
"The way I usually get involved in things is someone in the Cubs' front office comes to me with opportunities to make an appearance, or go somewhere and visit kids or go help with Habitat for Humanity and give a helping hand and help paint," Marshall said. "I'm open to whatever. The Cubs are such a popular name and we have such a good fan base, we have opportunities to raise money and help out. That's the way I think of it. I feel I can help in many different ways."
Every Major League club has a nominee, and all have immersed themselves in the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of Clemente, a life that ended at age 38 on New Year's Eve, 1972, with the crash of a plane aboard which he was personally delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
Fans will once again have the opportunity to participate in the selection of the national winner. They can cast votes for any of the 30 club nominees through Oct. 8.
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 Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Hall of Fame right fielder.
Voting fans also will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip for four to the 2010 World Series to see the winner presented with the Roberto Clemente Award.
This year, Marshall was part of a unique wheelchair softball clinic for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Caring for Kids program, which provides sports and recreation opportunities for children with physical disabilities. He spent the day with players, providing tips and signing autographs for the participants and their families.
"I've met a lot of people who have made me become more aware in the community," Marshall said. "These kids try so hard and work so hard and it's so fun to watch how much fun they have. It puts smiles on their faces and makes them happy, and I love that feeling and seeing the happiness in kids' eyes when you give them an autograph. It's a lot of fun. We have a big impact on the community, not only in Chicago but nationwide, and I'm able to use that to my advantage.
Marshall teamed with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to present $5,000 to the Streator, Ill., Youth Baseball League. The money will go toward rebuilding fields that were destroyed by a tornado earlier this summer.
He also has helped out his teammates with their charitable causes. He participated in former teammate Ryan Theriot's mystery ball event, which benefited the National Wildlife Federation, and regularly visits children who have been invited to the game by fellow Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster.
"I know there are a lot of other players -- Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells have done such a good job with the charities they support," Marshall said. "I've kind of been the guy who has outsourced myself and my name to help different things and I enjoy that a lot."
Marshall's charitable efforts are not limited to Chicago. He has volunteered his time to prepare and serve dinner at Paz de Cristo, a community center and food bank in Mesa, Ariz., home of the Cubs' Spring Training facilities. In addition, the lefty helped to raise funds for the fight against cystic fibrosis in the Phoenix area.
"We're very fortunate," Marshall said of ballplayers in general. "There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for being where I am. Both with talent and a lot of luck, I'm here where I am today and you can't take it for granted for a second because it all can be gone in an instant. I do as much as I can to help out."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.