Gordon named Clemente Award finalist

Gordon named Clemente Award finalist

MIAMI -- With game-changing speed, Dee Gordon is known for making things happen on the basepaths. The two-time All-Star second baseman is also being recognized for making a difference in the community.

Major League Baseball announced Gordon is the Marlins' 2017 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, and he will be formally recognized during a ceremony on Wednesday before Miami's series finale with the Nationals at Marlins Park.

"Roberto gave his life giving," Gordon said. "To be able to get this award is very cool. I'm just trying to help people in the community, in the Dominican Republic, anywhere, because we all have a higher calling. I don't just want to be a guy who was a good baseball player when I'm done. I want to be a good person."

All 30 MLB clubs have a nominee for the Clemente Award, regarded as the most prestigious individual award a player can receive because it focuses on both on-field abilities and civic involvement.

Gordon has his "Flash of Hope" program, which is being run in partnership with the Florida State Attorney's Office. It assists youngsters who have lost a parent due to an act of domestic violence.

Flash of Hope is extremely personal to Gordon, whose mother, Devona Strange, was killed in a domestic incident when he was 6 years old.

"It's pretty cool trying to show kids, if something tragic happens to you early in life, you don't have to become a bad person or become a product of your environment, because I didn't," Gordon said.

As part of the program, Gordon hosts guests from Voices for Children for batting practice and a meet-and-greet at Marlins Park.

At a recent Flash of Hope bowling event, Gordon saw a boy and a girl -- both around 9 -- interacting.

"A little girl and a little boy were hugging each other," Gordon said. "I was like, 'Why are they hugging each other so much?' They were in two separate foster families, but they were brother and sister. They were so happy."

Another philanthropic program Gordon is involved with is the Hungry Foundation's Striking Out Poverty initiative to support nine impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic.

Gordon raised more than $15,000 for the village's water treatment facility to ensure that they had clean water. Additionally, the speedster is pledging $200 for every stolen base this season to help provide safe drinking water to the residents of the Dominican Republic.

Entering Tuesday night, Gordon had 49 steals.

"I like to help people," Gordon said. "I'm blessed with a contract. But before I buy anything cool for me, I need to help somebody else. Who, I don't know. It's easy to just go to your community and just hand out money. I wanted to go help some people I didn't know."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.