Tim Wakefield receives Clemente Award

SAN FRANCISCO -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield is the recipient of the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a major league player who gives back through community service and also excels on the field.

Wakefield was presented the award by commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, Roberto's widow, before Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night at AT&T Park.

"This is a very special day for me and I am extremely honored to be named the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award," said Wakefield. "Roberto's legacy truly epitomizes how an athlete should act, not only on the field, but off as well. That's what I've tried to emulate throughout my career."

Since 2004, Wakefield has been actively involved with the nonprofit "Pitching in for Kids," which provides grants to improve the lives of children across the New England region and encourages kids to participate in special events to learn important life skills and the spirit of helping others in a community. Fundraisers co-hosted by Wakefield have helped raise nearly $1 million.

The 44-year-old Wakefield, who went 4-10 with a 5.34 ERA this year in his 18th major league season, also supports the Space Coast Early Intervention Center in his hometown of Melbourne, Fla.

New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter won last year's award. Other Roberto Clemente Award winners include 13 Hall of Famers -- with Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith among that group. St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols won in 2008. Wakefield is the first Red Sox to win the award.

Clemente was a Hall of Fame right fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while trying to deliver food and relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits.

"I congratulate Tim Wakefield and welcome him to the Roberto Clemente Award presented by [the] Chevrolet family," said Vera Clemente. "For many years I have learned of his contributions in improving the lives of children across the New England region and his hometown Melbourne, Fla. Roberto would be very proud to have Tim on his team of great humanitarians making a positive impact in the life of many youngsters."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.