Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman Man of the Year nominee

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 09: Ryan Zimmerman
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 09: Ryan Zimmerman /

Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was named one of the finalists for the Roberto Clemente Award yesterday

Ever since the Washington Nationals drafted Ryan Zimmerman in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft, he has been one of the key pieces for this franchise both on and off the field. Yesterday, he added yet another honor on to his resume.

Zimmerman was named the Washington Nationals finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award. Each team gets a finalist and that person is named for the work that they do off the field in their respective communities. As Mark Zuckerman of MASN tweeted yesterday, this honor isn’t new to Zimmerman:

Fans can vote for who they want to win the award from October 2-6, but it will be mainly decided by a panel that is headlined by Commissioner Rob Manfred and Vera Clemente, the wife of the late Hall-of-Famer, Roberto Clemente.

Since 2006, Zimmerman’s foundation, The ziiMS Foundation, has been around to help raise money for programs that help people who have multiple sclerosis (MS). His mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with the horrible disease back in 1995. Here is what Zimmerman said on the foundation’s website about the organization.

"“My family has given me the support to fulfill my dreams. The Washington Nationals have given me the opportunity to play the game that I love at the highest level in our nation’s capitol. I am thrilled to have launched a foundation that I hope can make a real impact in the life of my family as well as many others afflicted by MS.”"

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On the field, Zimmerman has been one of the best stories on the Washington Nationals this year. He has 30 home runs, which is the most he’s hit in a single season since 2009 and right now is having his second year of hitting over .300 in his career (.302).

This year, Zimmerman will be one of the favorites for National League Comeback of the Year and it’s been great to see him healthy this year after injuries prevented him from playing more than 120 games each of the last three seasons.

While Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg may get the national attention, Zimmerman continues to be the face of the franchise and will remain that for as long as he is wearing a curly W uniform. He is one of the main leaders in the clubhouse and always shows a great level of professionalism.

Since I am from New York, it was great to see David Wright get an opportunity to play in a World Series for the Mets as one of the leaders of the franchise. Whenever I see Zimmerman, I think he’s the D.C. version of Wright, so he deserves to at least get a chance to play in a Fall Classic.

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Hopefully the fifth time around is the charm for Zimmerman. His foundation helps out a great cause and its good to see him being recognized for those efforts.