MILWAUKEE -- Rickie Weeks routinely asks the Brewers not to publicize his many community endeavors. Here's one they can't keep secret. Weeks is the Brewers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy, a prestigious honor bestowed each year on a Major Leaguer who makes a positive impact off the baseball diamond. The ballclub plans to honor Weeks on the field before Wednesday's Brewers-Cardinals game at Miller Park. "My mom always told me to never forget where I came from," Weeks said. "Sometimes people get to a point in their lives where they forget that they are blessed. I don't want to forget that."
Weeks focuses most of his charitable efforts on underprivileged children. His "Rickie's Rookies" program distributes 500 tickets and T-shirts to kids for 25 Brewers home games each season. He arranges every year for the Boys & Girls Club of Milwaukee to have use of a van to transport kids to various events. He funds at least two scholarships, one for a Wisconsin student to attend college in the state and another through his mother's church in Orlando. Weeks is also very involved in Milwaukee's Beckum-Stapleton Little League program. "My main thing is to give kids a chance to do things they wouldn't normally be able to do," Weeks said. "I really take pride in doing things like that. There were things in my life, growing up, that I never got to do, and I've been fortunate since then." Now he has the resources to spread his resources around. Good luck getting him to boast about it. "He's very quiet, very modest, very low-key," said Katina Shaw, the Brewers' director of community relations. "We're always asking him to let us send a note to the media to let them know what's going on, but he says no. He just loves the kids." All 30 nominees 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 national winner presented with the Roberto Clemente Award. "It would be an honor," Weeks said. "A lot of times you get awards for on-field stuff, and it's good they give an award for the stuff people don't see. But I'm never going to be the one saying, 'I'm going this or that.' I do those things because I think they are important."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.