Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is having the best year of his 11-season big-league career when it comes to home runs, but he was recognized Tuesday for what he does off the field.
Seager was announced Tuesday as the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which according to MLB, “annually recognizes the major-league player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”
Seager, who has a career-best 34 homers this season, is active in many causes in the community. He serves as a spokesperson for the Refuse To Abuse campaign, makes regular visits to Seattle Children’s hospital and the Seattle Children’s Heart Center, grants many Make-A-Wish requests and has helped raise money for children’s cancer research.
Seager also supports the American Heart Association, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Mariners Care, the Seattle Mariners nonprofit foundation.
“That’s such an unbelievable honor,” Seager said Tuesday of the nomination. “I’m extremely proud. I’m extremely honored. You know, it’s a very humbling award. … It’s certainly, you know, bigger than baseball, and it’s something I’m extremely, extremely proud of, (the) willingness and desire to give back.”
Much of what Seager does off the field — including his visits to hospitals — is not well known because he doesn’t publicize it.
“Meeting with individuals and that type of stuff, I always thought it felt more personal and real, when, you know, it’s not surrounded by a bunch of lights and everything,” Seager said.
Mariners manager Scott Servais talked about how the Clemente Award means a lot to players throughout baseball, and he said it’s very important that players give back to their community.
“I think it’s really important in the fact that Kyle has done that here, in Seattle,” Servais said. “And I think it’s really important for our younger players to understand what it means to give back. They get caught up into where they are at in their career, and you want certain status and to play for a long time in a certain city, but it’s so important to give back.
“I think it’s great that our guys do it, and I think it’s great that Kyle has given back.”
Fans can vote for the winner of the award, and according to MLB, “the winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by a blue ribbon panel.”
Servais said the next step for starter Justin Dunn (shoulder) is to begin a rehab assignment. Servais said Dunn felt great after his most recent bullpen session.
“Probably be a couple days from now,” Servais said of when Dunn’s rehab assignment will begin.