Webb earns Clemente nomination
D-backs right-hander helps children through two foundations
PHOENIX -- On the mound, Brandon Webb has known for being one of, if not the best, pitchers in the National League for the past three seasons.Off the field, Webb has shown there is more to him than just a dominant sinkerball.
Webb and his wife, Alicia, started the K Foundation in 2004, which aims to improve the lives of children suffering from critical and chronic illnesses throughout Arizona by providing them with daily support and life-changing experiences. Webb has personally donated more than $200,000 to the K Foundation.Webb was nominated as the D-backs' 2008 representative for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet. The award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972. Fans can participate in the selection process of the overall winner of the award now through Oct. 5. 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 MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Pirates' Hall of Fame right fielder whose spirit and goodwill always will be remembered. The winner will be announced during the World Series. "Brandon is a special person who understands the social responsibility associated with being an impact player," D-backs president Derrick Hall said. "He has been a positive influence and visionary in the lives of our youth and deserves this nomination and recognition." Last December, Webb started Brandon's Locker, which supplies children in hospitals with comfort items like toys, blankets, books and stuffed animals. The first Brandon's Locker was started at St. Joseph's and already has expanded to Steele Children's Research Center. It will open at three more hospitals in Arizona by November of 2009. Webb is expecting that by the end of 2008, Brandon's Locker will have impacted more than 30,000 young hospital patients in Arizona. "Right now, we're in position, a lot of us, to give back and it's a good opportunity to get involved and help children out," Webb said. "There are just so many things out there that you can do just to be able to help a few people. It makes them feel good, so whatever you can do to help is always a good thing." Webb's K Foundation also funds the Field of Dreams Program, providing critically and chronically ill children with dream vacations and fantasy sports-related experiences. On Nov. 6, the K Foundation will impact the lives of 10 children by inviting them and a parent to join Webb and Nascar Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer for Fantasy Day at Phoenix International Raceway. Earlier in the season, Webb hosted 30 children from St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center and their families for a VIP Field of Dreams Day at Chase Field. Webb provided each family with a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark, tickets to the game and each child a Webb jersey, baseball hat, a K Foundation T-shirt and an autographed photo. The Field of Dreams Program also will provide a summer dream vacation to two critically ill children and their families. The families will receive an all-expense-paid vacation to any U.S. vacation destination of their choice. Webb has also teamed up with former D-backs pitcher Curt Schilling in the fight against ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, pitching on behalf of Schilling in the Curt's Pitch campaign in 2008. Schilling won the Roberto Clemente Award with the D-backs in 2001. "Roberto Clemente is obviously a big name in baseball, so to be nominated and to be put up for that is a real big honor," Webb said. "We obviously don't do it for the recognition. If we didn't get recognized at all it would be just as well."
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.