Thursday afternoon saw Major League Baseball announce the nominee from each team for the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award. For the Cincinnati Reds, they have nominated catcher Tucker Barnhart. Major League Baseball describes the award as follows:
The Roberto Clemente Award is bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
When spring training shut down and everyone went back to their homes, it was Tucker and his wife Sierra who decided that they would do something nice, do something to give back, do something to help out those who were less fortunate and perhaps in need. Once a week they would choose a local restaurant and purchase a $500 gift card to pay for as many meals as it could buy that day for anyone who came in. Here’s what MLB.com has in their write up about Barnhart’s nomination:
Once Spring Training was shut down, Tucker returned home to Zionsville, Ind. where he heard local radio personality Dan Dakich say he was going to get takeout for dinner to help support local business. Tucker loved the idea and it led to the creation of “Takeout Thursday.”
That same day, Tucker purchased a $500 gift card to various local restaurants and put the word out on social media for people to go to these locations and get a meal, up to $25, on his dime. The effort continued, with a couple of Takeout Thursdays that included a local restaurant, Frisch’s, matching his donation every week, which was followed up by a Cincinnati location.
Tucker also pitched the idea for a sandlot game as a fun way to mimic a sense of normalcy. After some discussion, he decided to put the invite on social media and ask attendees for a $5 donation. The event raised about $2,000 for Indianapolis Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) to go toward uniforms, equipment, league and tournament fees or any other needs.
Not lost on Tucker through the pandemic has been the fight for social justice and racial equality. He has been vocal on social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
You can vote for Tucker Barnhart (or anyone else among the 30 players that were nominated) at this link, if that’s the kind of thing that you are into.
Congratulations to Tucker for his contribution. Also, it should be cherished to be associated in any way with the great Roberto Clemente. Besides from giving the ultimate sacrifice in service to (another) country, he was an outstanding offensive and defensive player in a time when the Pittsburgh Pirates were among the cream of the National League. There was a game at Crosley Field (5-15-67) where the Reds made multiple comebacks to basically beat just Clemente 8-7. Roberto knocked in all the runs with 3 homers and a double while the rest of the Pirates scattered 4 singles… Also, I would to make condolences for Terrific Tom Seaver, whom we were lucky to have in Cincinnati for 4 or 5 years. Still top 20 all time in innings pitched, he also completed 37% of his starts. Kind of the last of a dying breed. Guys like him didn’t need pitch counts and worked every fourth or fifth day as needed. Won 16 games at age 40…Perhaps the Reds could give a pep talk to the team by way of example of these two fine men. I’m sure they could gather several first hand stories with minimal effort.
Take that Tyler Stephenson .
Tucker can’t hit but he is a humanitarian and oh by the way also owed 3 million + next year so Reds are pulling out all the non baseball stops.
Love tucker . He just isn’t a credible hitter. Reds admired that chasing FAvcarchers last 2 years . They really wanted Phil’s catcher and grandal. Reds need to justify his roster spot for $3 million one more year. Castellini marketing machine!!! Go Reds
You forgot to mention that Tucker has a great arm that most are afraid to steal on and he’s a great pitch framer/caller (traits Casali does not measure up on). There was a time these qualities were valued over the bat and the catcher just batted at the bottom of the order.
Personally, I’ll take these defensive traits and Tucker’s .200 average over Casali’s .250 average any day, neither hit for much power. Hoping Stephenson will be able to do both well.
Tucker Barnhart represents the Reds and MLB so well in so many ways, this recognition comes as no surprise. A tip of the Reds cap to you Mr. Barnhart.