PITTSBURGH -- For the second time in his career, Rickie Weeks is the Brewers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, an honor the 30-year-old does not take lightly. "I grew up with baseball history in my family," Weeks said. "I was able to go to the Roberto Clemente Museum last year, and see some stuff I didn't quite know about him. At the same time, I knew some things about him." Weeks is one of the 30 club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major Leaguer who best represents baseball on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Fans can vote through Oct. 14 at MLB.com/ClementeAward and help decide which of those 30 will receive this prestigious recognition.
The award is named for the 15-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Weeks was also nominated in 2010. "It's great," he said. "A lot of time, people forget about doing off-the-field stuff, community relations and trying to give back. I take pride in doing that. It just feels good when they recognize you for that." Weeks is involved in a variety of charitable interests. He built into his contract an annual donation to Brewers Community Foundation, the club's official charity, to support activities and programs targeted at youth recreation, scholarships and education in Wisconsin. This summer he hosted the Team Smile dental clinic at Miller Park and made a monetary contribution to the YMCA in support of its swimming program. Weeks has partnered with Brewers Community Foundation to sponsor the 2012-2013 "Teach for America, Sponsor-A-Teacher" initiative in Milwaukee. He sponsored the Children's First Stage Theatre Company's production of a play called "The Jackie Robinson Story," which will debut in 2013. Since 2008, Weeks has financially supported the "Rickie's Rookies" ticket program, which provides hundreds of game tickets and T-shirts to youth groups and organizations throughout the state. He has also supported Milwaukee's Beckum-Stapleton Little League, the 2011 Fatherhood Initiative Trip (sending fathers and their children on a one-day trip to St. Louis for a ballgame) and the American Diabetes Association, a cause close to his heart, since three of his grandparents have the disease. The Brewers will honor Weeks for his charitable efforts on Sept. 29 at Miller Park.