Rickie Weeks Selected as Brewers Nominee for Branch Rickey Award
Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks today was named the Brewers nominee for the 2013 Branch Rickey award presented by the Rotary Club of Denver. This is the first year fans have been able to vote for their choice for the Branch Rickey award and enter a drawing for a trip to the 2013 World Series. Fans can use online voting through Facebook by visiting the Branch Rickey Award website.
Fans may vote as many times as they would like during the Fan Voting period which ends Monday, August 12, 2013 at 12:59 p.m. CT.
Unlike the many baseball awards based on statistics, the Branch Rickey Award recognizes individuals who give unselfishly of themselves to their communities. These men are strong role models for today’s young people. All of the honorees personify Rotary International’s motto, “Service Above Self.”
Year in and year out, Weeks has given back to the Milwaukee community. Weeks has supported the American Diabetes Association, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, the Beckum-Stapleton Little League and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Wisconsin. He has also contributed to scholarship programs for Milwaukee-area students and, since 2008, has sponsored the “Rickie’s Rookies” ticket program which provides hundreds of tickets and t-shirts to youth groups across the state.
Each Major League team was asked to nominate a humanitarian from their team for the 2013 award. A National Selection Committee, composed of 450 members of the sports media, past award winners, baseball executives and Rotary district governors, has been invited to vote on the nominees. The independent accounting firm of RubinBrown will verify the results. The Fan Vote will be taken into account in selecting the winner.
The Rotary Club of Denver plans to announce the 2013 Branch Rickey Award honoree in mid-September. This year’s winner, along with all the previous recipients, will be invited to attend the Branch Rickey Award banquet on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Denver. The winner will be inducted as the 22nd member of the Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame. Presenting sponsor is AMG National Trust Bank.
The late Branch Rickey, known to millions as “Mr. Baseball,” is credited with breaking the color barrier in the Major Leagues in 1945 when he signed Jackie Robinson, the first modern-day African-American player. He also hired the first Hispanic player, Roberto Clemente. Rickey was portrayed by Harrison Ford in the recent Jackie Robinson movie “42.”
Rickey helped develop the farm system in baseball and stimulated the sport’s expansion into more cities. Always an advocate for underprivileged children, he spearheaded the development of the famous “Knot Hole Gang,” to allow kids to attend big league games.
The Milwaukee community is lucky to have the support of a guy like Weeks. He is a quiet guy off the field and doesn’t look for recognition for his large heart, but he is well deserving of this award.