Outfielder Mark Kotsay has been named the Padres' 2013 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
Kotsay is one of 30 club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
Tuesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted on the 30th anniversary of his passing in 1972 to keep alive Clemente's spirit of giving.
Voting runs from Tuesday through Oct. 6 at chevybaseball.com as fans help decide which of those 30 club winners will receive this prestigious recognition.
This season, Kotsay has participated monthly in pregame ceremonies honoring first responders and was inspired to give on his own and make a difference for California Highway Patrol families.
The Padres have a longstanding history of honoring those who serve, and San Diego's first responders serve the community selflessly every day, quietly and without fanfare.
As a son of a retired police officer and a motorcycle patrolman for the LAPD, Kotsay knows firsthand the bravery and sacrifices they make on our behalf.
Earlier this year, Kotsay donated $5,000 to the CHP 11-99 fund to support the welfare of CHP employees and their families. Since 1982, the CHP 11-99 Fund has distributed more than 1,000 college scholarships annually to children of CHP employees. Kotsay has also supported first responders and military programs for over 10 years.
Since his first tour of duty with the Padres (2001-2003), Kotsay has supported the Monarch School, a San Diego school for homeless children; the MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon; the Burn Institute; and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He recently taped a PSA for the San Diego Police Officer's Association and is charitable to the Cal State Fullerton Foundation -- where he attended -- and the Nativity School and countless other organizations in Southern California.
Kotsay recently announced that this season -- his 17th in the big leagues -- would be his last. He'll be missed, said Padres manager Bud Black.
"His experience and personality made a huge impact on our group ... not just on players but also for the coaches and me," Black said. "He was a great sounding board for me. He asked me a lot of questions and I asked him a lot, getting the players' perspective.
"He did a great job inside the clubhouse with the younger guys and the older players, sending the right message. With Kots, I always trusted that the right message was being delivered."