Each Major League club nominated a player to be considered for the national award. 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, 1972, with the crash of a plane aboard which he was personally delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
Like Clemente, Guillen has spent good deal of time to help his native land, almost always behind the scenes. Through his charitable fund, Fundación Chamos Venezolanos, he helped a hospital in Maracay improve the maternity ward, including additional incubators. He recently worked one of his local youth leagues to restore and refurbish a local field for kids ages five through eight, complete with finished dugouts.
This year, he's working with celebrities and other Major Leaguers in Venezuela to put together a charity softball game this winter that would raise money for various causes, something he did two years ago.
"We're trying to do a different thing every year," Guillen said.
Here in Detroit, Guillen teamed up in July with DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and the Detroit Tigers Foundation for Keeping Kids in the Game, a night of entertainment at Comerica Park that helps raise money for each of the causes. Each summer, Guillen has also hosted Carlos' Campaneros, a program that provides deserving kids with free game tickets and a chance to watch batting practice from the field.
"It's good, because we help people here in the city of Detroit, and in Venezuela," Guillen said.
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.