New York Yankees reliever David Robertson has been nominated for the 2014 Branch Rickey Award. The Award recognizes professionals in Major League Baseball for exceptional community service. Former Yankee Dave Winfield was the recipient of the inaugural Branch Rickey award in 1992. Other past winners include Ozzie Smith, Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett, Tony Gwynn and last year's winner, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The award was created by the rotary club of Denver, Colorado and was named for former Major League player and executive, Branch Rickey. He was best known for breaking the color barrier in 1947 when he signed Jackie Robinson to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Rickey also signed the first Latin superstar, Roberto Clemente and is responsible for introducing the batting helmet to professional baseball. Rickey played for the New York Highlanders, now known as the New York Yankees, in 1907 and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.
Robertson played his high school ball in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before going on to star at the University of Alabama. Robertson was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 17th round of the 2006 amateur draft. In his first season as the Yankees closer, Robertson has 31 saves and a 2.62 ERA.
Robertson is involved in many charities and formed the David and Erin Robertson Foundation in 2011. The foundation was created after tornadoes devastated Robertson's hometown of Tuscaloosa and paid for temporary housing and repairs for more than 200 homes and their owners.
After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the foundation sent 200 mattresses, food, furniture and three supply trucks to people in need. The foundation also teamed up with Bain Capital to furnish more than 140 homes in New York and New Jersey. Robertson donates $100 for every strikeout and $200 for every save to his charity, High Socks for Hope.
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Tags: Baseball, MLB, New York, New York Yankees