ATLANTA -- With five All-Star selections and three Silver Slugger Awards, Brian McCann has already established himself as one of baseball's best catchers. But his contributions to the Atlanta community extend beyond what he does on the diamond.
McCann has been named the Braves' nominee for this year's Roberto Clemente Award Presented by Chevy. The All-Star catcher and his wife, Ashley, have spent the past couple of years dedicating themselves to The Rally Foundation, a non-profit organization which was formed to financially assist in the battle to find better cures and treatments for those afflicted with childhood cancer.
"Any time a kid suffers from anything, it hits you pretty hard," McCann said. "My wife and I appreciate the opportunity to work with the great people from The Rally Foundation. For me, there shouldn't be any kids that have to go through something like cancer."
Along with working with the Rally Foundation, McCann has been willing to regularly assist the Braves with their community endeavors. He will be recognized as the Braves' nominee for this year's Clemente Award during an on-field ceremony before Friday night's game against the Cardinals at Turner Field.
Each of Major League Baseball's 30 nominees have immersed themselves in the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of Clemente, a life that ended at age 38 on New Year's Eve, 1972, with the crash of a plane aboard which he was personally delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
Fans will once again have the opportunity to participate in the selection of the national winner. They can cast votes for any of the 30 club nominees through Oct. 8. 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 Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Hall of Fame right fielder.
Voting fans also will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip for four to the 2010 World Series to see the national winner presented with the Roberto Clemente Award.
The McCanns helped raise more than $300,000 with the first annual Brian McCann Rally Celebrity Softball Game in November. During this event, Dean Crowe, the founder of the Rally Foundation, proudly talked about how Brian and Ashley had displayed their dedication to the organization and the children that it assists.
Shortly after getting involved with The Rally Foundation, the McCanns were introduced to Alexa Rohrbach, who was diagnosed with cancer when she was just 1 year old. They immediately developed a bond with this young girl, who was just a few months away from losing a decade-long battle against this illness.
When the McCanns arrived at the funeral home to pay their respects to the Rohrbach family, they found themselves at the back of a line that included approximately 600 people.
Once Crowe realized that the McCanns had arrived, she quickly learned that they had no desire to accept her offer to move to the front. Instead, they felt comfortable waiting 2 1/2 hours to honor the memory of this young girl.
"I'd say there were 600 new Brian and Ashley McCann fans and not because he's an All-Star baseball player," Crowe said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.