Kolarek named O's community All-Star

Kolarek named O's community All-Star

After thousands of nominees from across the United States and Canada were narrowed to 90 finalists, Major League Baseball and PEOPLE have announced the 30 winners of the "All-Stars Among Us" campaign, which spotlights people who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities.

The Orioles' "All-Star" is Frank Kolarek of Baltimore, who was chosen by fans across the nation for engaging young people around the world in initiatives ranging from increasing access to education to fighting poverty.

Kolarek started "League of Dreams" for children with mental and physical disabilities. His foundation enables kids to play baseball and softball in a safe and loving environment, and gives them an opportunity to feel like big leaguers.

Kolarek and the rest of the winners will be honored during the pregame ceremony at the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14 on FOX, at which President Barack Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. One club representative also will be featured in People Magazine.

Nearly three quarters of a million votes were cast by fans across the nation in the All-Stars Among Us campaign to select the 30 "All-Stars Among Us" winners -- one per Major League team -- out of the pool of 90 finalists who are serving as leaders within their communities.  

The other finalists for the Orioles were:

• David G. Vaughn: The Greenville, N.C., resident organized the construction of a state-of-the-art baseball field for special-needs children and also helped create a playground for all children in his city.

• Jon A. Kaplan: The Baltimore resident started Baltimore Fitness Academy, a non-profit organization where inner-city youth learn fitness, nutrition and business skills. Program graduates become certified fitness professionals and can share their knowledge with others in the community.

Meanwhile, vote for your favorite players with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 sites.

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.