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Granderson honored by Clemente nod

Granderson honored by Clemente nod

NEW YORK -- Center fielder Curtis Granderson has been named the Yankees' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy.

Major League Baseball has handed out the award since 1972, renaming it one year later in honor of the late Pirates' star. The Roberto Clemente Award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, including his contributions on and off the field.

Granderson earned the nomination for the second straight year and in his first season with the Yankees. In the process, he beat out last year's overall winner, Derek Jeter.

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He will be recognized in an on-field ceremony prior to the Yankees' game with the Orioles on Wednesday.

"It's an honor. It's very neat to be mentioned in the same breath [as Roberto Clemente]," Granderson said. "It's surprising this year, with the transition over here ... especially with this team. There's a lot of guys on this team that do a bunch. They're constantly helping out and giving back."

Granderson formed the Grand Kids Foundation in 2008, with a strong focus on education. The son of two teachers, Granderson knew early he wanted to concentrate on helping kids in school.

"That's one of the things I'm passionate about," Granderson said, adding that, although he was intrigued by other causes, they "didn't really touch home" with him.

The trade to New York initially complicated Granderson's charity work, but it has also opened up new partnerships and opportunities. He has already begun working with the New York Public Library system and the New York City marathon, among other organizations.

"I didn't get the chance to do as much, because everything's new and I didn't know exactly where we wanted to go with some stuff," Granderson said. "In time, we'll do more. It's just getting my feet underneath me and understanding where the need is."

On the field, Granderson got off to a rocky start in pinstripes, including being sidelined for a month with a strained groin. He's ridden a recent hot streak, however, to lift his average close to .250 with 17 home runs.

All 30 nominees 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 in 1972, with the crash of a plane aboard which he was personally delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.

Fans will once again have the opportunity to participate in the selection of the national winner. They can cast votes 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 also 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.

Jeter won the award in 2009, becoming the first Yankee to be so honored since Ron Guidry and Don Baylor won it back-to-back in 1984 and '85. Other recent winners include Albert Pujols, Craig Biggio and Yankees broadcaster Al Leiter.

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

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