Young deserved Roberto Clemente Award

Michael Young has twice won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. Presented by the Players Association, that award is voted on by the players themselves so it’s hardly a surprise that Young has won it twice.

Young commands immense respect from players around the league.

That’s not the case when it comes to the Roberto Clemente Award.

Major League Baseball announced on Sunday night that Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the 2012 winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, which “recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.”

Young has been the Rangers nominee for four straight years. He has yet to win it, unlike Pete Rose , Sammy Sosa or Curt Schilling.

The Rangers have also never won a Cy Young Award but, other than Ferguson Jenkins in 1974, they have never had a worthy candidate. That’s not the case with Roberto Clemente and yes, this is a big deal because this is a prestigious award.

It is one that Young richly deserves.

If Young doesn’t represent everything that Clemente Award embodies then they might as well stop giving it because their standards are way too high.

All right, 2012 wasn’t his best season but his 12-year body of work is still pretty impressive.  But it nothing compared to the off-field work both by Young and his extraordinary wife Cristina. Start with their work in Wipe Out Kids Cancer and then go down the line to just his day-to-day charity work for the Rangers.

Or just his day-to-day accountability with the media, which did not waver even during his most trying season.

On the 2012 Rangers, there were five people who stood head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to accountability: manager Ron Washington, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, outfielders Josh Hamilton and David Murphy and Young. Most of the starting rotation – Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Scott Feldman – also merit mention.

But, when it comes to accountability, Washington and Young are off the charts.

Young is off the charts in many ways. His teammates and his opponents recognize that. Major League Baseball should too. Young should have won the Roberto Clemente Award.

6 Comments

Here, here. Well said.

Sent from my iPad
Ben J. Sexton

I could not agree more. I am very disappointed that Michael Young was not selected because he embodies what that recognition is all about. Nothing against Kershaw, but Michael Young has lived the values of the Clemente award for years and should have been the recipient.

From Hardball Talk:::

Stuff like the Clemente Award, which goes to ”the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship and community involvement.” Most of us have no way of measuring even one player’s level of community involvement, let alone compare him to 29 other nominees, all of whom have clearly shown great sportsmanship and have made humanitarian efforts or else they wouldn’t have been nominated. Which is one of the reasons why the fact that the Clemente Award has a fan vote component makes little sense.

But that doesn’t stop T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com from saying that Michael Young was jobbed when Clayton Kershaw won it the other day:

Young has been the Rangers nominee for four straight years. He has yet to win it, unlike Pete Rose , Sammy Sosa or Curt Schilling …

It is one that Young richly deserves. If Young doesn’t represent everything that Clemente Award embodies then they might as well stop giving it because their standards are way too high.

I appreciate that Sullivan sees Young and his charitable work up close and has a greater appreciation for it than any of us do, but I really don’t know how one can talk about this sort of thing like a gold glove or something. To say, as he implicitly does, that Kershaw is somehow not as deserving seems, well, kind of rude given that we’re talking about humanitarian things here and not objective baseball value. And when Sullivan throws in Young’s “day-to-day accountability with the media,” — which is not something the Clemente Award is designed to reward — one wonders what the heck the motivation is for this in the first place.

I’m sure Michael Young is a good guy and embodies the things the Clemente Award values and honors. But to argue about the Clemente Award as if it’s like any other award seems rather awkward.

Yes, I’m Kershaw hates children and eats puppies and is not nearly as good a guy as Michael Young.

I don’t see Michael Young building schools in Zambia in his spare time.

No, Michael Young has been fighting kids cancer for years and years and years.

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