MILWAUKEE -- For the second straight season, Jeff Suppan is the Brewers' nominee for Major League Baseball's top humanitarian award. Considering whose name is attached to it, Suppan was humbled by the honor.
"Everybody knows what Roberto Clemente did for baseball," Suppan said. "He transcends baseball and was a role model for all people. It's an honor to receive an award like that."
Suppan is one of 30 nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet, an honor that recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder who died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.
Fans can participate in the selection process of the overall winner of the award now through Oct. 5. 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 MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Pirates' Hall of Fame right fielder whose spirit and goodwill always will be remembered. The winner will be announced during the World Series.
As part of the four-year contract he inked with the Brewers on Christmas Eve 2006, Suppan and his wife, Dana, donate $100,000 per season to Brewers Charities. The funds are spread out over a variety of initiatives, including two Milwaukee-area youth baseball programs, a program that provides scholarships to children attending Catholic schools whose families face financial challenges and a Christmas Party at Miller Park for Milwaukee-area kids.
Suppan also continued his support for California-based Stillpoint Family Resources, which provides counseling to families in crisis, and for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which aids the families of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty. He donates $100 per strikeout to the fallen heroes fund, a sum matched by Brewers Charities that so far adds up to $38,200 over the past two seasons.
In 2008, the Suppans threw their support behind "Soup's Troops," another benefit for military personnel. They teamed with the USO of Wisconsin and the Brewers to outfit four seats behind home plate in camouflage for use by active soldiers and their families, and each fan receives a $50 voucher good at Miller Park concessions and souvenir stands.
"There are a lot of ways to make donations or to give away tickets, but this is something that's a little more personal," Suppan said. "That's why we got behind that right away."
The Astros' Craig Biggio was the overall winner of the Clemente Award last season.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.