Smoltz wins Branch Rickey Award

DENVER -- Atlanta Braves ace John Smoltz will be awarded the 2007 Branch Rickey Award for humanitarian service in November.

The award, created by the Denver Rotary Club in 1991, honors individuals in baseball who contribute to their communities and are strong role models for young people.

For 14 years, Smoltz has co-hosted the Braves' annual Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament, raising more than $1 million for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

His annual John Smoltz Baseball Camp benefits Kings Ridge Christian School in Alpharetta, Ga. Smoltz participates in the camp as an instructor, giving baseball training, motivational talks and life-skill lessons.

Smoltz also works closely with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, hosting "Strike Out Hunger" food drives at Turner Field.

All 30 major-league teams submitted nominations. A 300-member selection committee including sports reporters, past winners, baseball executives and Rotary officials chose Smoltz.

Previous winners of the award include Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, Craig Biggio, Al Leiter, Curt Schilling, Bobby Valentine and Tommy Lasorda.