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September 06, 2016

Howard, Hamels nominees for prestigious MLB Award

For the second consecutive year, Ryan Howard has been named the Phillies nominee for one of baseball’s most prestigious awards.

Howard has been named as one of baseball’s 30 nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, which is bestowed annually at the World Series to the player who “represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

Formerly known as the “Commissioner’s Award” when it was created to recognize a player’s philanthropic work in 1971, the honor was renamed the “Roberto Clemente Award” in 1973 after the former Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame outfielder who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while delivering supplies to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua.

Howard and the Ryan Howard Big Piece Foundation opened the Ryan Howard Training Center two months ago, a $2.5 million a start of the art facility for the MLB Urban Youth Academy. Former Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, traded to the Texas Rangers in July of 2015, is also one of the 30 nominees for the Clemente Award.

Like Howard, Hamels has been well-known for his humanitarian efforts during his professional career.

Jimmy Rollins was named the co-winner of the award with Paul Konerko in 2014, his final year with the Phillies. Before Rollins, the last Phillie to receive the honor was Garry Maddox (1986).

Other notable winners: Greg Luzinski (1978), Curt Schilling (2001), Jim Thome (2002), and Jamie Moyer (2003).

Major League Baseball will celebrate it’s 15th Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday, when fans can help take part in the Clemente Award process by posting a hashtag for their favorite 2016 nominee (#VoteHoward, #VoteHamels, etc.) through social media.

Minor League Playoffs Through Area Wednesday

The Phillies don’t return to Citizens Bank Park until Monday and won’t return to the playoffs until …. who knows … but there will be plenty of opportunity to see postseason baseball around the area this week.

Three of the Phillies closest affiliates – Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Double-A Reading, Low-A Lakewood – open postseason series in their respective leagues on Wednesday in games in Allentown, Trenton, and Lakewood.

Right-hander Ben Lively is scheduled to start in the first round of the International League playoffs in Allentown against Scranton-Wilkes Barre. The 24-year-old Lively, acquired in a trade on New Year’s Eve 2014 for Marlon Byrd, is 11-5 with a 3.06 ERA and 0.935 WHIP (best in the IL among pitchers with at least 12 starts) in 19 starts with the IronPigs and 18-5 with a 2.69 ERA and 0.938 WHIP in 28 starts overall between Lehigh Valley and Reading this year.

In his last seven starts, Lively is 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA and has struck out 40 (while walking seven) in 43 1/3 innings. Lively threw six no-hit innings, while striking out 10 and not walking anyone, in his regular season finale at Rochester on Friday.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21