Motte named Cards' Clemente Award nominee

Motte named Cards' Clemente Award nominee

ST. LOUIS -- A regular visitor at pediatric cancer centers and the creator of the "K Cancer" player initiative that went leaguewide this season, Cardinals reliever Jason Motte has begun earning recognition for the charity efforts he has long performed outside of the spotlight.

Already named as a candidate for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, Motte was announced on Tuesday as the Cardinals' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to one of the 30 club finalists who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field. Carlos Beltran was the overall Clemente Award winner while with the Cardinals last season.

"Carlos and I were talking last year and he made a point that you make time for what you want to make time for," Motte said on Tuesday. "That's something that is important to me. You look at all the guys who were nominated, and these guys do some really great stuff. It has to do with some of your on-the-field stuff -- you obviously have to be here to be nominated for it -- but it also has to do with stuff that doesn't have to do with baseball. It shows that there is stuff that is bigger than the game."

Motte and his wife, Caitlin, established the Jason Motte Foundation in order to raise awareness and money for cancer patients and research. The couple has hosted a Strikeout Cancer event in Memphis the last two offseasons to benefit the Wings Cancer Foundation and they have another planned for November. He also participates in Cardinal Glennon's Homers 4 Health and K's for Kids initiative and served as the honorary chair for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this year.

But Motte's most visible work has come over the last 16 months. During his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Motte created a "K Cancer" T-shirt that, fittingly, has a Clemente quote printed inside: "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth."

After selling the red shirts in St. Louis to raise money for his foundation, Motte took the concept league wide, getting shirts created in every team color and finding a player on each team willing to back the cause. Together, players across baseball held a Strikeout Cancer Day on Sept. 2. Motte estimated that t-shirt sales on that day raised $50,000-60,000 for charity.

"They've been very committed to going out and making a difference," manager Mike Matheny said of the Mottes. "I think we saw on a national level, too, where it was getting some acknowledgement across the league, people realizing it's a great cause that he's been very active with. He should feel good about the difference that he's making."

The Cardinals will recognize Motte during a pregame ceremony as part of Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday. Fans can play a role in determining the overall winner by voting on from Wednesday through Oct. 6. A selection panel, which includes Vera Clemente, the wife of Roberto Clemente, will also help choose the winner, which will be announced during the World Series.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.