Walker honored with Heart and Hustle award

Walker honored with Heart and Hustle award

Walker honored with Heart and Hustle award
PITTSBURGH -- Neil Walker, the Pirates winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, was honored in an on-field ceremony Saturday.

One player from each team was honored by the MLB Players Alumni Association with the award, which celebrates active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball, on and off the field.

"It's very humbling. Of the awards [for which] you can get picked by your peers or the alumni, I think that's a pretty good award to receive," Walker said. "I think there was a lot of people in this locker room that could have got it as well. But I feel very fortunate."

Walker leads the National League with 78 double plays turned and is third among second basemen with a .989 fielding percentage. He is active in community service, especially with the Miracle League, a youth baseball league for children with disabilities.

"To give back to the community in general is something that I'm very passionate about," Walker said. "For me it's not so much to do community service as it is to try to help put a smile on a kid's face or let a kid feel what it's like to meet a Major League Baseball player or play on a field ... that they would never get a chance to do if they're in a wheelchair or have trouble walking.

"I don't see it as work. I see it as an enjoyable experience to give back to some kids that don't get the chance to live a normal life."

MLB Alumni and active players will vote on the overall winner from among the 30 team winners, and that player will be announced on Nov. 3 at the Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City, an event that raises funds for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics.