By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates was named winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on Friday for his contributions on and off the field, including community involvement.
McCutchen was one of 30 candidates for the award as each of the Major League Baseball teams nominated one of their own players for the honor.
A five-time All-Star and former National League Most Valuable Player, McCutchen has participated heavily in activities for Pirates Charities and in fundraising.
He also supports other local and national charities, including the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, hosting children at the ballpark facing life-threatening illnesses.
The award pays tribute to Roberto Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who dedicate themselves to helping others.
It is named for the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve in 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
"I can only hope that I can do at least half that he did," said McCutchen.
McCutchen's selection was announced by Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. at a press conference prior to Game Three of the World Series at Citi Field.
"Andrew McCutchen has distinguished himself as one of the greatest players in his franchise's long history, and he now stands alongside perhaps the most legendary Pirate of all, Roberto Clemente, for his charitable work away from the diamond," the commissioner said.
"Andrew is an outstanding ambassador for our game, particularly for his ability to connect with our young fans."
Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and Wife of Roberto Clemente, said: "Roberto played his entire career in the outfield for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as has Andrew, and I know Roberto would have been very proud of the many lives that Andrew has touched in Pittsburgh and in his hometown in Florida."
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)