The greatness of Clayton Kershaw cannot be overstated. At only 24 years old, the reigning Cy Young award winner has accomplished more than some people have in an entire lifetime. His achievements on and off the field are extraordinary. The young rising star is now a staple of the Dodgers. This past Tuesday, Kershaw was the Dodger’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente award.
The Roberto Clemente award is an annual award given to the player whose contributions on and off the field best represent the game. The award includes achievements for sportsmanship and charity. Each of the 30 MLB teams selects a finalist for the award. The 11th annual award is named after Baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Clemente who played Major League Baseball for 18 years and was inducted into the hall of fame, passed away in a plane crash while bringing food and supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Kershaw and his wife Ellen founded the charity Arise Africa. The charity donates money from every Kershaw whiff to help build orphanages for kids in Zambia. Their other charity called Kershaw’s Challenge is dedicated to helping at risk children and their communities. Kershaw and his wife published a book about their charities and work in Africa called Simply Arise.
Kershaw has been the heart and soul of the Dodgers since he arrived in his rookie year of 2008. Since then, Kershaw has put up numbers only comparable to the greatest Dodger pitchers of all time. Kershaw won his first Cy Young award last season, posting a 21-5 record, 2.28 ERA, and 248 whiffs. He led the league in all three categories, winning the pitching triple crown. This is a feat unheard of for a pitcher of his young age. He has also won a Gold Glove, and he has two All-Star selections.
This season he is having another dominating season. Most people consider him to be a strong candidate for his second Cy Young despite his win totals being low. Kershaw has battled numerous injuries this season. He had the flu on Opening Day, plantar fasciitis in his foot, and now has a hip impingement.
Kershaw has begun throwing bullpen sessions again, but the Dodgers are being very careful. It was originally feared that Kershaw has a torn hip labrum, which was the same injury that knocked out Jerry Hairston Jr. for the season. It was feared that Kershaw would be out until May of 2013. Fortunately a recent visit to the tor confirmed a hip impingement, and he was cleared to pitch as long as he wasn’t in any pain. It does not look like he will need surgery.
Kershaw is 12-9 this season, posting a 2.70 ERA, and has 206 whiffs in 206 innings pitched. Kershaw leads the league right now in whiffs, Innings pitched, and WHIP. He is second in the league in ERA. Of course Kershaw’s health and career are far more important than any one game play-in against the Braves. If the Dodgers feel his health is at risk, then we may not see Kershaw pitch again this season. After all, a young man with this much talent and heart is a franchise cornerstone. Dodger fans everywhere are well aware that the greatness of Clayton Kershaw can’t be overstated.