Rays OF Mallex Smith selected as nominee for Roberto Clemente Award

In his second season with the Rays, Mallex Smith has distinguished himself as a leader in the community.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Major League Baseball today announced that Mallex Smith was selected as the Tampa Bay Rays 2018 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by MLB.

The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB club who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

Each club nominates one current player to be considered for the Roberto Clemente Award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. Wednesday, September 5 marks the 17th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially acknowledge local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.

In his second season with the Rays, Mallex has distinguished himself as a leader in the community. He has committed countless hours in the greater Tampa Bay area by utilizing his platform as a major league player to impact local youth through his positive and engaging personality.

Mallex participated in the first Reading with the Rays event, presented by Suncoast Credit Union, this season by reading children’s books to more than 40 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte County in March at Charlotte Sports Park, the Rays spring training home.

On Jackie Robinson Day, Mallex met and talked with 30 students from the Poynter Institute’s Write Field program during a pregame event at Tropicana Field. Write Field is a dynamic program designed to improve the academic performance and life of African-American and Hispanic boys by teaching them writing, public speaking and critical thinking skills. The students participated in a Q&A session with Mallex, interviewing him on his childhood, family and friends and experience playing professional baseball. The students then turned their research notes into full stories on their experience meeting Mallex and watching the Rays game.

In June, Mallex took part in the local Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser that raises over $200,000 annually for children in need across Tampa Bay. The money raised through the event allow more “Bigs” and “Littles” to be paired up, leading to improved outlooks on life for the children. Mallex met with each team competing, taking pictures and signing autographs with the top fundraisers.

For the second straight year, Mallex participated in the Rays on the Runway fashion show, a charity event hosted by the Children’s Dream Fund and Rays Wives, by walking down the runway with 10-year-old dream child Jhorden. The event raised more than $115,000 for the Children’s Dream Fund, which aims to make dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses.

In addition, Mallex not only aims to impact local youth, but takes his inspiration to the offseason when he works with high school and college players in Gainesville, Florida to develop baseball skills and self-confidence.

The Rays will have an on-field, pregame ceremony to present Mallex with the award on Saturday, September 15 during the club’s annual Roberto Clemente Day.

The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, who will be announced during the 2018 World Series, will be selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel that includes individuals connected to the game. The blue ribbon panel includes Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB.com, as well as Vera Clemente (the late Roberto’s wife & MLB Goodwill Ambassador). Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website from Wednesday, September 5 through Tuesday, September 18. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel. Fans are encouraged to vote by visiting mlb.com/clemente21.

The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” The recognition was renamed to the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Major League Baseball has commemorated Roberto Clemente Day each September since 2002.