The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Adam LaRoche among six finalists for Marvin Miller man of the year award

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Adam LaRoche is among six finalists for the Marvin Miller man of the year award, presented each year to the player who inspires others with his on-field performance and off-the-field contributions to his community. The award is presented by the MLB Players Association and named after the influential former union head who died in 2012.

LaRoche is among six finalists that include Carlos Beltran of the Yankees, Max Scherzer of the Tigers, Josh Hamilton of the Angels, Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. LaRoche was chosen as a finalist for his extensive off-the-field work with the Wounded Warrior Project and the military.

“It’s an honor,” LaRoche said. “I’ve made it pretty obvious that my impact on people, not just in this game or what I’ve done statistically, how we treat people and how we represent ourselves is more important to me than any on-field achievements or stats. That’s why this is really cool. Doing that over the years is obviously having an impact on somebody from my name being mentioned. For my name to be out there, it’s mission accomplished on my goals.”

LaRoche regularly visits the Walter Reed Medical Center and has even brought wounded soldiers to the stadium to take batting practice, meet the team and hang out in the clubhouse. LaRoche went on a USO Holiday Tour last offseason, visiting troops in Greece, Afghanistan, Italy and Germany.

“You can’t help but get a better grasp on what they did and what they go through,” he said. “Going over there and got a small taste of what they do.”

LaRoche first began visiting Walter Reed when he was a visiting player and his team stopped in Washington. Once he signed with the Nationals, he made his involvement with the Wounded Warrior Project more regular. He has even gotten to know military leaders and has goals of helping more.

The Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that helped injured soldiers and their families, has many programs and LaRoche hopes to help out with one that involves hunting, one of his passions. The idea is in the works, he said, but he wants to bring wounded soldiers and their families out to his ranch in Fort Scott, Kan., to deer hunt for a few days. He cares deeply about the military and their families.

“Been reading about it every day with the events still going on,” he said. “It seems like it’s never ending for our guys all over the world. I got a lot of respect for them.”

Fans voted online to narrow the list of 30 players down to six, one from each division. LaRoche is the NL East finalist, and players will vote for the winner of the award, which will be presented after the end of the season. Mariano Rivera won the award last season, while Chipper Jones, Curtis Granderson, Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols, Jim Thome and Paul Molitor are among other recipients.