Los Angeles Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw was named the 2013 Warren Spahn Award winner today. Kershaw will be formally recognized at the Warren Spahn Award Gala, hosted by Oklahoma City's Bricktown Rotary Club and Jim Thorpe Association on January 28 at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame & Jim Thorpe Museum.
The Spahn Award is presented annually to the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball and is based on a pitcher's wins, strikeouts and earned run average. Kershaw finished the regular season with 16 wins, 232 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA. This is Kershaw's second Spahn Award. He won for the first time in 2011.
"It is such an honor to represent Warren Spahn and his many accomplishments on the mound," Kershaw said. "Thank you to the Bricktown Rotary Club for awarding me this prestigious honor. I'm ever so grateful for your ongoing support. Lord willing, I look forward to being a good steward of all this award embodies."
The Spahn Award is named after Oklahoman and National Baseball Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, who holds the Major League Baseball record of 363 wins as a left-handed pitcher. Kershaw said he is humbled to be put in the same category as "a legendary man with a great left arm."
Greg Spahn, son of the late Warren Spahn, said Kershaw represents the award well.
"Clayton led MLB in both strikeouts and the lowest ERA," Greg Spahn said. "It is the first time a pitcher finished the season below 2.00 since 2005. Now he's leading the Dodgers into post-season play. Clayton is a true competitor and has earned a second Warren Spahn Award."
This season, Kershaw became the first pitcher since Greg Maddux (1993-1995) to lead the major leagues in ERA for three consecutive seasons. His 2013 honors also include winning the Roy Campanella Award, an honor bestowed by Dodgers players and coaches for "most inspirational Dodger."
In addition to his work on the field, Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, founded Kershaw's Challenge in 2011. With the goal of transforming the lives of children in America and Africa, the organization provides a home to orphans living with HIV/AIDS in Zambia. In 2012, Kershaw's Challenge expanded to serve at-risk youth in Los Angeles and Dallas. For every strikeout, Kershaw donates $500 to the foundation.
Spahn Award Gala Chairman Bill Hickman said Kershaw is a shining example of Rotary's commitment to taking on some of the world's most pressing challenges.
"Clayton Kershaw serves as an inspiration not only to the Dodgers, but also to our nation and the world," Hickman said. "He uses his talents and passion to make a difference and challenges others to do the same. We are honored to welcome him back to Oklahoma City in January to celebrate his accomplishments."
Ticket information for the January 28 Gala can be found at www.okcspahnawards.com.
Past Spahn Award winners include: Gio Gonzales (2012); Kershaw (2011); David Price (2010); CC Sabathia (2007-2009); Johan Santana (2004, 2006); Dontrelle Willis (2005); Andy Pettitte (2003); and Randy Johnson (1999-2002).