09/05/2007 1:10 PM ET
Derrek Lee named Chicago Cubs recipient of the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award, Presented by Chevrolet
Cubs first baseman to be recognized in an on-field ceremony prior to tonight's game vs. Los Angeles
CHICAGO -- Derrek Lee today was named the Chicago Cubs recipient of the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. He is now one of 30 Major League Club nominees for the national 2007 Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who combines outstanding skills on the baseball field with devoted work in the community. Today also marks the sixth annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball in 2002 to honor the memory of Roberto Clemente and to officially recognize local Club recipients of the Roberto Clemente Award.
As one of the premier players on the Chicago Cubs, Lee uses his prominence to better the community around him. In 2006, he founded Project 3000 to fight Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) after his then three-year-old daughter Jada was diagnosed with the degenerative disease that results in loss of vision. In conjunction with Derrek's 1st Touch Foundation, Project 3000 aims to eradicate LCA - a disease that affects an estimated 3,000 people in the United States. Since its inception, Project 3000 has raised more than $1 million in philanthropic support used in part to provide state-of-the-art genetic testing for more than 1,000 families who lack insurance coverage or personal resources to pay for the testing themselves.
In addition to his efforts to fight LCA, Lee sponsors Chicago-area RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) baseball teams. RBI baseball is a youth outreach program designed to increase participation and interest in baseball and academics with inner-city youths. Lee also hosts and helps fulfill the wishes of numerous children through wish-granting agencies such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
As an active supporter and advocate of Cubs Care, the charitable arm of the Chicago Cubs, Lee appears at numerous events annually, including the yearly three-day Cubs Convention, which raised more than $250,000 dollars for Cubs Care in 2007. Lee is a first-time recipient of the Chicago Cubs Roberto Clemente Award.
The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet is part of the company's official sponsorship of Major League Baseball and recognizes those players who best exemplify the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions to their teams. The award is named for Clemente, a 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who was killed on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. This award perpetuates Clemente's memory and character by recognizing current-day players who truly understand the value of helping others.
For the first time, fans can participate in the selection process of the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. From September 5 through October 5, 2007, fans can log on to mlb.com/chevy21 and vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. The fan vote winner will be tallied as one vote among those cast by the selection panel, which includes Vera Clemente, wife of the late Hall of Famer, and Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. Participating fans will automatically be registered for a chance to win a trip to Game Three of the 2007 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.
As the official sponsor of the Roberto Clemente Award, Chevrolet will donate $7,500 to the charity of choice of each of the 30 Club recipients. Chevrolet will also be making a $30,000 donation to the charity of choice of the national Roberto Clemente Award winner and a $30,000 contribution to Roberto Clemente Sports City in Puerto Rico.