Clayton Kershaw will add another award to his collection to go along with his National League Cy Young Award when he is honored with the 2011 Sportsman of the Year award during the seventh annual LA Sports Awards, presented by AT&T U-verse on March 15th at Club Nokia at L.A. Live.
The Los Angeles Sports Council annually bestows the LA Sports Awards for great moments in sports around the Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Sportsman of the Year is given to a local male athlete who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship through both his athletic performance and his character.
Clayton Kershaw has been inspirational both on and off the field. Not only did Kersh totally dominant opponents from on top the pitcher’s mound in 2011, the young 23-year old southpaw also uses his celebrity and earnings to help needy children in Africa.
Last season as a pitcher, Kershaw was selected as an All-Star, won the Gold Glove award (he had 9 pickoffs) and the pitching triple crown by leading the league in ERA (2.28), wins (21), and strikeouts (248). Clayton was the youngest pitcher to win the triple crown or Cy Young since Dwight Gooden in 1985. Kershaw’s 2011 season was remarkable in many ways. He was the Opening Day starter, and on June 20th he pitched his second shutout of the early season (and his third career shutout) against the Tigers in Interleague play. He became the first Dodger starting pitcher to strike out the side in the 9th inning since Sandy Koufax’s perfect game. He truly is the Sandy Koufax of our generation, and subsequently took home the Warren Spahn Award for being the best left-handed pitcher of 2011. His ERA and wins were the best for a Dodger starter since Orel Hershiser in 1988, and he had the most strikeouts as a Dodger starter since Sandy Koufax whiffed 317 in 1966. Kersh beat Giant rival and former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in all four match-ups during the season. He was named the NL Player of the week for the week of June 20-26 and the NL Pitcher of the Month for July.
As a person, Clayton along with his wife Ellen, are charitable and just returned from their second trip to Zambia. Kershaw’s Challenge program donates $100 for each strikeout by Clayton during the season. His 248 strikeouts in 2011 was good for $24,800. The donations go to the charity Africa Arise, an organization that helps to build orphanages in the African nation. They hope to break ground on a new orphanage in February. The couple recently released a book, Arise, about their life and charity work together in Africa. They are embarking on a book tour to help promote their cause.
In addition to the Sportsman award, the ceremony which will be televised on Prime Ticket, will also will feature a countdown of the Top 10 moments for 2011 along with the naming of the Sportswoman, Coach, and Sports Executive of the Year. The recipients will receive an award created by Tiffany & Co.
Beginning January 17, through online balloting at www.lasports.org, Southern California sports fans can select the greatest moments of 2011 in 13 different award categories. Voting takes place through February 6; winners will be revealed during the awards festivities.
The L.A. Sports Council is a non-profit organization and will utilize the event’s proceeds to further its mission of promoting economic development through sports in Southern California.
Previous Sportsman of the Year honorees were: Derek Fisher, L.A. Lakers (2010); Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers (2009); Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (2008); David Beckham, L.A. Galaxy (2007); Elton Brand, L.A. Clippers (2006); and Matt Leinart, USC football (2005).
Clayton Kershaw is eligible for his first year of arbitration and could garner around $7 million next season.