CHICAGO (Reuters) - Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets on Friday was named the recipient of the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award for his community involvement and philanthropy.

Granderson’s selection was announced by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred at a press conference prior to Game Three of the 112th World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.

“Curtis Granderson is an outstanding ambassador for our game and a positive role model for kids,” said Manfred.

“His commitment to the many communities that have touched his life and the great impact of these efforts makes him a very deserving recipient of our most prestigious award."


Granderson, a native of Lynwood, Illinois, has been a significant contributor within every community in which he has played and lived.

In 2007, he created the Grand Kids Foundation to improve educational experiences for young people nationwide and to establish additional baseball opportunities for inner-city youth in his hometown of Chicago.

Granderson donated $5 million toward a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor youth baseball academy at his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago, which provides some 10,000 youth with a chance to play in a safe environment year-round.

The outfielder also holds multiple baseball clinics throughout the year in Chicago, his baseball home in New York and his spring training home in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The award honoring major league players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award,” but was renamed the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973.

Hall of Famer Clemente, a 15-time All-Star outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Andrew Both)