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11/15/2013 5:25 P.M. ET

Mentor of the Year Award to honor difference makers

Indians announce initiative to recognize community leaders

CLEVELAND -- When the Indians hired Terry Francona to be their manager last offseason, it triggered an incredible turnaround both on the field and behind the scenes for the ballclub. The result was a memorable season and a spot in the playoffs for the first time in six years.

Francona's impact was immediate and he was voted the American League's Manager of the Year Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America this week for his part in Cleveland's season. The Indians now want their fans to help identify individuals who are making an impact around Northeast Ohio.

On Friday, the Indians announced plans for a Mentor of the Year Award, which will be given out during Tribe Fest (Jan. 24-26) at Progressive Field. The winner and the person who nominated the individual will receive the chance to meet Francona.

The Indians are asking fans to submit nominations for the Cleveland Indians Mentor of the Year Award by visiting indians.com/Mentors, where they can fill out a form with information about their nominee. Finalists, who will be notified at a later date, will be voted for by fans to determine the winner.

The team has set the criteria to individuals who are "making a difference in other people's lives and working to make Northeast Ohio a better place through leadership efforts." Examples would include teachers, coaches, volunteers, community activists or politicians, though the ballclub emphasized that anyone is eligible for the award.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.