Sept. 3, 2009
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
First published on MLB.com 09/02/09 9:52 PM ET
WASHINGTON -- Nationals left-hander John Lannan is only in his second full season in the Major Leagues, and he already has given back to the community off the field. No wonder Lannan is a candidate for this year's Roberto Clemente Award.
Lannan serves as a sports ambassador for The Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health. The Children's Inn is a residential "place like home" for sick children and their families who have come from across the country and around the world to undergo newly developed therapies at the NIH, the world's leading biomedical research center.
The children who seek treatment at NIH are facing life-threatening illnesses that resist conventional therapy. There is no charge to the families for medical treatment at NIH nor is there a charge for staying at The Inn. By serving as sports ambassador, Lannan is helping to bring awareness to The Children's Inn and raising funds to support it.
In addition to serving as sports ambassador, Lannan recently launched Lannan's Cannons, a ticket program designed to bring joy to the children and families at The Children's Inn at NIH. Through this program, Lannan hosts residents from The Inn at Nationals Park during Sunday home games. Each guest receives a ticket to the game, a food voucher, and a Lannan's Cannons T-shirt. John also meets with the children and their families at the ballpark.
Lannan is very generous in donating his time for numerous Nationals team functions. Some of the functions Lannan has been involved in are the Nationals Winter Tour, which stops at Food & Friends to pack meals for people living with life-challenging illnesses throughout the Washington DC area, and at Children's National Medical Center to visit with patients undergoing treatment.
Lannan has also gone on numerous trips including one to Walter Reed Army Medical Center visiting with patients. During the 2008 holiday season, Lannan made a trip from his offseason home in New York to attend the Washington Nationals Holiday Party for children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. He spent time handing out gifts to each child in attendance, signed autographs and played games in the ESPN Zone Game Room.
Lannan continues to be accessible and ready to help out anyway possible in regards to the Nationals' events at the ballpark or in the community.
The Roberto Clemente Award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder, whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.
Fans can participate in the selection process of the overall winner of the award now through Oct. 4. 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 MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Pirates' Hall of Fame right fielder whose spirit and goodwill always will be remembered. The winner will be announced during the World Series.
Voting fans also will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2009 World Series, when the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevy will be announced.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.