Ten Major League players on Tuesday were named nominees for the 49th annual Hutch Award, given yearly in honor of former Major League player and manager Fred Hutchinson.
The award, bestowed annually upon a Major Leaguer who demonstrates the honor, courage and dedication exemplified by Hutchinson, will be handed out on Jan. 30 at Safeco Field. This year's 10 nominees are: Jeremy Affeldt (Giants), Craig Breslow (Red Sox), Neal Cotts (Rangers), John Danks (White Sox), Sean Doolittle (Athletics), Alex Gordon (Royals), Raul Ibanez (Mariners), Scott Kazmir (Indians), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) and Jason Motte (Cardinals).
Hutchinson, who died of cancer in 1964, went 95-71 with a 3.73 career ERA over 10 years as a big league pitcher. He spent his entire playing career with the Tigers and also managed 12 seasons in the Majors, including his first two as a player-manager in Detroit in 1952-53.
He later managed the Cardinals for three seasons before spending the final six years of his career as the Reds' skipper. He led Cincinnati to the 1961 World Series and later had his No. 1 retired by the Reds. He was diagnosed with cancer prior to the '64 season, but he still managed the club on and off that season while battling the disease and undergoing treatments.
Hutchinson later passed away in November of that year at the age of 45.
Seattle, the site of the yearly award ceremony, is not only Hutchinson's hometown, but also the location of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, founded in Hutchinson's honor in 1975 by his brother, Dr. William Hutchinson. The research center operates as an independent nonprofit organization aimed toward improving the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and other related diseases.
The first Hutch Award was given in the year immediately following Hutchinson's death. The inaugural honor went to Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, and it has been awarded to a new recipient every year since. It is intended to go to a Major League player who has battled to overcome adversity in his personal or professional life.
The list of recipients includes 11 Hall of Famers and 11 MVP winners, as well as one player who was treated for cancer by a doctor from the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Red Sox starter Jon Lester, who was diagnosed in 2006 with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, was treated at the center before making a triumphant comeback in '07 that included being the winning pitcher in Boston's World Series-clinching victory that season. He won the Hutch Award the ensuing offseason.
Following Lester, other recent recipients of the Hutch Award have included Mark Teahen ('09 ), Tim Hudson ('10), Billy Butler ('11) and Barry Zito ('12).