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Clayton Kershaw wins Branch Rickey Award for charitable work

September 05, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, founded Kershaw's Challenge to help at-risk children.
Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, founded Kershaw's Challenge… (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )

Sometimes those who give, just have to receive.

It’s not like Clayton Kershaw has never been awarded anything of significance before (see: 2011 National League Cy Young), but Thursday’s honor just may hold a special place for him.

At a news conference at the Denver Athletic Club, Kershaw was selected as the winner of the 2013 Branch Rickey Award.

Named after the former Dodgers executive who broke baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, the Rickey is designed to honor those in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people.

Kershaw, 25, is the youngest person to receive the award. He becomes the 22nd member of the Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame.

Kershaw leads the major leagues in ERA (1.89), WHIP (0.92) and innings (209), and is third in strikeouts (201).

He earned the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award for his sportsmanship and off-the-field efforts.

The left-hander and his wife, Ellen, founded Kershaw’s Challenge, a foundation that aids at-risk children. Its cornerstone charity, Arise Africa, has built and is maintaining an orphanage in Zambia. They hope to add a renovated school to the project.

Kershaw’s Challenge is also involved with Sharefest in Los Angeles and Mercy Street in his hometown of Dallas, which both sponsor after-school programs and sports for children.

For the last three seasons, he has donated $500 to his foundation for every strikeout.

Kershaw just completed a fundraising ping-pong tournament for his foundation at Dodger Stadium last week. Kershaw, by the way, won it.

He is the third Dodger to win the Rickey, after Brett Butler and Tommy Lasorda.

He is scheduled to receive the award at a dinner in Denver on Nov. 16.

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