A day after he and his wife, Monica, debuted their Grace G7 wine to raise funds and awareness for the battle against Multiple System Atrophy, Marco Gonzales was named as the Mariners’ 2022 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which is one of the most prestigious honors for players.
Per the news release, the Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a player from each MLB club who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Since being traded to the Mariners in 2017, Gonzales has embraced his role as a player and a leader in the clubhouse and off the field.
“It goes back to our time at Gonzaga,” he said. “We were always taught to give back to our community as student athletes. I think since the moment we’ve got here we always try to find some way to be involved and help out beyond baseball. We believe we’ll be here beyond baseball.
“With our roots here, with her family here, with Gonzaga being so close, and all of our friends and family here, we just feel like it’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s what we’re meant to do here. We feel like we have a role in that, and we enjoy it. We love giving back and we hope to inspire others to do the same.”
In past years, Marco and Monica teamed up with a Blazin’ Bagels to create a signature “Mr. & Mrs. Bulldog” breakfast sandwich to benefit the Defeat MSA Alliance and the MSA Coalition.
In 2019, Gonzales joined multiple MLB players as a part of the Home Plate Project, a partnership between MLB, Teammates for Kids Foundation and Big League Impact. The focus was to “ensure kids in their communities had enough nutritious food to eat.” In addition to presenting checks totaling $30,000 to the Hunger Intervention Program and Northwest Harvest, Gonzales helped serve lunch and provided Mariners backpacks to kids in the Seattle area. The program helped provide over 2,500 meals for kids that summer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gonzales helped support the Mariners’ relief efforts, including a special Pop-Up Blood Drive at T-Mobile Park with Bloodworks Northwest. He also launched the Gonzales Family Peanut Butter Drive, a virtual campaign to benefit Northwest Harvest. The campaign raised $54,173 to help provide over 500,000 nutritious meals for kids in Washington state. Gonzales and his wife also delivered meals during this crucial time to first responders from the Seattle Fire Department.
Gonzales continued to add to his causes this season as he started working with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), serving as a spokesperson for the Refuse To Abuse campaign. The campaign includes print, video and radio public-service advertisements to help prevent domestic violence and promote healthy, respectful relationships.
Gonzales has been a part of the Mariners’ caravan tours in past offseason as well as team broadcaster Rick Rizzs’ toy drive.
Other charities Gonzales has been involved with over the years include the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Seattle Children’s, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, Kadlec Medical Center, Little League Challenger Division and Mariners Care.
The leaguewide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue-ribbon panel, including commissioner Rob Manfred, representatives from Capital One, MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS), MLB.com, as well as Roberto’s children, Enrique, Luis and Roberto Jr. Beginning Thursday, fans can vote for the Roberto Clemente Award via mlb.com/clemente21 until Oct. 5. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the panel.
Three Mariners players have received the Clemente Award: Harold Reynolds in 1991, Jamie Moyer in 2003 and Edgar Martinez in 2004.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.