David Ortiz was named as the winner of the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award Thursday night.
Selected by a panel of nine (including former Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra) and a fan vote, Ortiz was recognized for his philanthropic work in ensuring the availability of pediatric care for children in the greatest need both in the United States and in the Dominican Republic through the David Ortiz Children's Fund.
Ortiz has been active in the local community as well, engaging in a number of charitable efforts for Mass. Gen. patients including leaving large numbers of tickets to home games for them.
It's been a bit of a contentious month for Ortiz, who expressed his frustration with the drama surrounding the team and didn't shoot down an ESPN interviewer's question as to whether or not he'd play for the Yankees. While he's now backed down from that stance, somehow it seems like this should have a bigger impact on calming down any outrage against him. As much as Sox fans demand loyalty from their players, it's hard to stay angry at a guy who provided "funding for more than 200 lifesaving heart operations" last year.
This marks the second straight win for a Red Sox player after not having a single winner since the award's inception in 1971. Tim Wakefield was given the honor in 2010.