Wells nominated for Clemente Award

Wells nominated for Clemente Award

TORONTO -- Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells is no stranger to lending a helping hand in his community.

The 31-year-old has spent countless hours attending team-sponsored charity galas and working with intercity youth programs. Since 2002, he has acted as the honorary commissioner for the Toronto Rookie League.

Wells is more than a contributor -- he eats, sleeps, and lives the part.

Because of his genuine compassion and dedication, particularly in conjunction with his Perfect 10 Foundation, Wells has been nominated as the Blue Jays representative for this season's Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.

"I think anytime somebody brings up your name with Roberto Clemente, it's special," said Wells, who has been nominated for the award the past two years. "He's a person that tried to make an impact on so many different lives, and the goal of my foundation is to reach as many different people as possible. I'm in a position to hopefully be a blessing in the lives of many children and single moms. It's a blast to go on that journey and hopefully change people's lives."

All 30 nominees around Major League Baseball have immersed themselves in the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of Clemente, a life that ended at age 38 on New Year's Eve 1972, with the crash of a plane on which he was aboard, personally delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.

Wells' Perfect 10 Foundation, established in 2007, provides underprivileged children in his hometown of Arlington, Texas, with a safe and stable residence, as well as opportunities to further their education. According the foundation's website, there are more than 1,500 homeless children on any given day in North Texas, with countless more single mothers struggling to provide for their families.

It's a problem Wells believes is just beginning to gain the attention it deserves.

"It has grown," Wells said. "Just the name and our goals and what we're trying to achieve as a foundation, the word has gotten out. People are excited about what we're doing and what our plans are for the future. People are getting on board."

Wells will be presented with the nomination prior to Tuesday's contest against the Rangers. Fans will once again have the opportunity to participate in the selection of the national winner -- which went to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter last season -- by casting their vote for any of the 30 club nominees through Oct. 8.

The fan-ballot winner will be tallied as one vote among those cast by a special selection panel of baseball dignitaries and media members. The panel includes Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Hall of Fame right fielder.

Voting fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip for four to the 2010 World Series to see the national winner presented with the Roberto Clemente Award.

James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.