PHOENIX — Every year, each team in Major League Baseball nominates one of their players for the “Roberto Clemente Award.” This prestigious award is named after former right fielder Roberto Clemente, and recognizes players for their work in the community. The Hall-of-Famer played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and had his life cut short on December 31, 1972 in a plane crash while delivering supplies to help earthquake victims in his native country of Nicaragua.
Recently, the Arizona Diamondbacks nominated left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders. Saunders was a first round draft pick (12th overall) in 2002 by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He made his Major League debut in 2005 and was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 25, 2010 for Dan Haren and minor leaguers.
Since coming to the Diamondbacks, Saunders has not only made a difference on the field, but off the field as well. Saunders and his wife, Shanel, founded “Team Saundo” in 2009 and the “Team Saundo Backpack Program” earlier this year. Team Saundo assists people battling life threatening illnesses and gives them an opportunity to see a ballgame. Not only do individuals get to see a game, Saunders meets with each person before the game.
The backpack program provides less fortunate children with school supplies and other needs for the school year. Through June 5, 2011, the program had purchased 2,000 backpacks and collected $3,500 worth of donations. Saunders does not stop there either; he also contributes to other organizations like the “Baseball Assistance Team” and the “East Valley Women’s League”.
The Good In Sports salutes Joe Saunders for all he does for the community and proudly awards him with a Gold Star.
- To see all the nominees and vote for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award, visit web.mlbcommunity.com. Voting ends on October 8th.
- Follow Saunders on Twitter @TeamSaundo.
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