October 31st, 2022
Since joining the Dodgers in 2014, Justin Turner has been one of the most crucial pieces on the roster. After struggling earlier in his career, he gave Los Angeles the best version of himself every day, becoming a two-time All-Star and a World Series champion along the way.
But what Turner has done off the field has far exceeded his long list of accomplishments on the field. That passion is why Turner was named the recipient of the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award on Monday, following his fifth career nomination for MLB’s most prestigious individual award.
“I think when you think about baseball and the history and all the great accolades that can be achieved on the field, this is one that stands out above all of them, for me,” Turner said at a press conference at Citizens Bank Park on Monday. “Because it’s a way that my wife and I have the opportunity to give back in the community, to utilize our platform in a meaningful, positive way.”
The honor is annually given 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,” and it is determined by the Commissioner, Clemente’s children, former players, journalists and fans.
“This is one of my favorite days on the baseball calendar,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “It is baseball’s highest honor to get the Roberto Clemente Award, because it demonstrates the bond that exists between our players and the communities where we play.”
Justin Turner wins Clemente Award
Aside from being recognized by his peers, Turner turned out to be the winner of the fan vote. He was to be presented with the award before Game 3 of the World Series between the Astros and Phillies on Monday night, prior to the game being postponed.
Turner became the third Dodgers player to win the prestigious award, joining Steve Garvey (1981) and Clayton Kershaw (2012).
“It feels like [everything]has really taken off since the day I put the Dodger uniform on,” Turner said. “So obviously, it’s very special to me, growing up in Southern California and getting to wear that jersey and be a part of an organization that has so much history and has so many people who have impacted the game in so many different ways. I’m just trying to do my little part.”
Over the years, Turner has certainly done his part, founding the Justin Turner Foundation in 2016 with his wife, Kourtney. The foundation’s mission is to support homeless veterans, children and families battling life-altering diseases and illnesses as well as youth baseball organizations.
In 2021, the Dream Center renamed its food bank to The Justin & Kourtney Turner Food Bank, and it currently supplies food to more than 60 food banks in the Los Angeles area. In addition, Turner’s foundation holds an annual golf tournament and supports AM 570’s Veterans Day Radio-a-thon, both of which aid the Dream Center’s Veterans Program. Last year, the tournament raised more than $650,000.
Turner and his wife have also been determined to help children battling deadly illnesses. They frequently visit patients at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This season, Turner sent over a pair of cleats so the kids in the hospital could decorate them. Turner then wore the cleats during a doubleheader on Sept. 20.
As a result of Turner’s contributions to the L.A. area, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously declared Jan. 22, 2019, to be “Justin Turner Day.” Now, he can add the Roberto Clemente Award to his humanitarian work.
“I feel like I’ve always felt like it’s a responsibility for me to help our younger guys kind of realize their platform and how much of an impact they can have,” Turner said. “I mean, obviously our No. 1 goal is to help as many people as we can, but I think No. 2 is to help our younger guys realize [their impact]and grow and start their foundations, and hopefully … impact just as many people.”