NEW YORK -- Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, nominated for Philadelphia's 2013 Wanamaker Athletic Award, said that the best thing about being recognized for giving back is the encouragement it provides him to give even more.
"You are not really doing it to get the awards, you are doing it because you want to," he said. "But getting that sort of recognition means I am doing the right thing, making the right choices in life and this motivates you to see how far you can take this."
The honor, first presented in 1961, recognizes the athlete, team or organization who "has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and to the team or sport in which they excel." If he wins, Hamels would join Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Jimmy Rollins as the fourth member of the Phillies to be chosen in the past seven years.
In 2009 Hamels and his wife, Heidi, established the Hamels Foundation, which has awarded $600,000 in grants to schools in underprivileged areas of Philadelphia. A school that would benefit up to 4,000 orphans in Malawi, Africa, is in the works.
"The Philadelphia kids we are trying to help are not going home to a very good environment," he said. "We want them for a couple of hours a day to get to go to something they are proud of and to realize that somebody is noticing them so that they will hopefully learn and make better decisions."
If chosen from among 12 nominees, Hamels would enter the company of Philadelphia legends Julius Erving, Chuck Bednarik, Bernie Parent and Mike Schmidt.
"People consider them athletes, but at the same time, they all have had a pretty good understanding of what it takes to be a complete person," said Hamels. "You want to show people that you are human and came from a pretty grounded lifestyle and won't get carried away with yourself."
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less