Kenley Jansen Named Dodgers’ Nominee For 2019 Roberto Clemente Award

Kenley Jansen was named the Los Angeles Dodgers’ nominee for the 2019 Roberto Clemente Award and will be recognized during a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

That coincides with the 18th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor the late Hall of Famer’s legacy as a humanitarian. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and official dugout lineup cards and a special tribute video will be played in ballparks.

The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of one player from each club who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel that includes commissioner Rob Manfred, representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB.com, as well as Vera Clemente (the late Roberto’s wife & MLB Goodwill Ambassador).

Beginning Thursday, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award online. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Sunday, Sept. 29. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel.

Clayton Kershaw (2012) is the lone Dodgers player to win the Roberto Clemente Award since its inception in 1971. Justin Turner was the club’s nominee in each of the past two seasons.

This year’s list of nominees features players whose various community and philanthropic activities have focused on important issues ranging from awareness and fundraising to support those with cancer and other illnesses or special needs, education for young people, natural disaster relief, outreach to underserved children and communities in the United States and abroad, and more.

The Dodgers’ closer founded the Kenley Jansen Foundation this year, with a mission to impact the lives of families who have seriously ill and chronically ill children by providing them with daily support through life-improving resources and life-changing experiences.

The Kenley Jansen Foundation carries out its goal through the creation of a “Kenley’s Locker,” which are built in local hospitals and house various video game systems and iPads.

“My focus has basically been on stuff kids don’t have in the hospital,” Jansen recently told DodgerBlue.com. “Like PS4, Xbox, iPads and all that stuff.

“Whenever they’re battling their illness, now they can have somewhere to go, feel good, and play video games and stuff like that instead of just sitting around in a room all the time. I try to make sure they don’t worry about stuff and just get better, get healthy.”

The inaugural “Kenley’s Locker” was built at the White Memorial Medical Center. It featured several Nintendo Switch gaming systems, accompanying games, 20 iPads, and $500 worth in iTunes gift cards to be used for apps.

The idea to establish the Kenley Jansen Foundation began two years ago, when Jansen and his wife Gianni were in New York. Their son ran a high fever and fell ill, leading to countless hours spent in a hospital.

“For me, it’s emotional. I went through stuff, man. My son battled some stuff,” Jansen explained. “You go through stuff and it makes you feel like you want to do good.”