Justin Turner wins prestigious Roberto Clemente Award

Justin Turner, who has spent his entire time with the Los Angeles Dodgers passionately giving back to the community in which he grew up, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, which annually honors players for their philanthropic efforts.

Turner, who has been nominated for the Dodgers’ Clemente Award five of the last six seasons, is in Philadelphia for a memorial service alongside the Clemente family and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred before Game 3 of the World Series on Monday. Turner is the third member of the Dodgers to win the award, following Steve Garvey in 1981 and Clayton Kershaw in 2012.

In many ways, the award is a highlight of Turner’s time in Los Angeles. When he joined the Dodgers as a free agent in February 2014, he was a 29-year-old journeyman infielder struggling to carve out a defined role in the major leagues. He overhauled his momentum, established himself as an everyday third baseman, fielded two All-Star teams, won a World Series championship, and founded the Justin Turner Foundation.

Turner is now 37 and suddenly unsure if his time with the Dodgers is over. The team holds a $16 million club option for 2023 and has yet to announce if it will exercise it.

“Everything in my life really feels like it’s decreased since the day I put on the Dodger uniform,” Turner said on a conference call. “Obviously, growing up in Southern California, wearing this jersey and being part of an organization that has so much history and has so many people who have impacted the game in so many different ways is very special to me. I’m just trying to do my small part.”

Turner’s foundation, co-founded with his wife Kourtney, began in 2016 with a desire to support homeless veterans, children and families battling life-changing illnesses and diseases. In recent years, Turner has been closely involved with Dream Center, an LA-based resource center focused on helping the homeless through community outreach programs. He and Kourtney have also provided more than 70,000 toys and 14,000 bicycles to children in LA, and donated more than $100,000 to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Turner now sits on the board of directors, according to an MLB release.

The Los Angeles City Council previously recognized Turner’s philanthropic efforts by declaring January 22, 2019 as “Justin Turner Day.”

Turner, made available over the weekend, said he is still in “wait and see mode” on whether to return to the Dodgers next season, but added that his charitable efforts will continue long after his time with the team .

“I think that’s always going to be part of the DNA of Kourtney and I,” Turner said. “Obviously we don’t know what it’s going to be like when I’m done playing and when events will come together and what’s going to happen on that front. But I think it’s something we will always carry on and always give back to help people in need.”

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34919727/justin-turner-wins-prestigious-roberto-clemente-award Justin Turner wins prestigious Roberto Clemente Award

Emma Bowman

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