Who was Fred Hutchinson?

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Who was Fred Hutchinson?

Fred Hutchinson

Hutchinson managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1959-64.

For ardent fans of the national pastime, it may be a symbol of how quickly time passes that more people may associate the name "Hutchinson" with cancer research than with baseball.

There was a time, however, when the mention of "Hutch," as Fred Hutchinson was known, conjured instant images of winning baseball. He ranks as arguably the biggest Seattle sports hero of them all — a top-flight major-league pitcher and manager whose career was cut short by cancer.

In the golden era of Pacific Coast League baseball, Fred's performance for the Seattle Rainiers in 1938 reached a stature that will likely have no equal. He amassed a sterling 25-7 record, winning his 19th game on his 19th birthday in front of a record crowd of 16,354 that lined the outfield fences three rows deep at Seattle's historic Sick Stadium.

Fred Hutchinson on the pitching mound

As a pitcher, Hutchinson won 95 games with the Detroit Tigers.

Fred then reached national fame with the Detroit Tigers, winning 95 games over 11 years and notching 18- and 17-win seasons in 1947 and 1950. He later managed the Seattle Rainiers (in 1955 and 1959) and the major-league Tigers (1952-54), St. Louis Cardinals (1956-58) and Cincinnati Reds (1959-64), which he piloted to the World Series in 1961.

Tragically, the man known for his tenacity, winning determination and courage died of cancer in 1964 at the age of 45.

Emmett Watson, Fred's friend and former high-school catcher who became Seattle's preeminent newspaper columnist, once quoted Hutch as saying:

"The ones who work the hardest are the ones who make it, the ones who win. Sometimes that's the only difference. If you don't work hard at this game, you might as well hang them up. Sweat is your only salvation."

With that legacy, Fred's brother, Dr. Bill Hutchinson, a Seattle surgeon and an athlete in his own youthful heyday, sought to establish a living memorial to Fred: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Today, Fred Hutch is a world leader in research on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

Baseball's Hutch Award

The Hutch Award was created in 1965 in honor of the late Fred Hutchinson, who died of cancer at the age of 45. The award is given each year to a major-league player who best exemplifies Hutch's honor, courage and dedication. Read more about the Hutch Award »

Fred Hutchinson Legacy Video

Watch a video about professional baseball coach and player Fred Hutchinson and his brother Bill, a medical doctor and cancer researcher, who founded Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Key events in the life of Frederick Charles Hutchinson

  • Born: Aug. 12, 1919, in Seattle, Wash.
  • Education: Emerson and Brighton Grade Schools, Franklin High School, University of Washington (1938)
  • Armed services: Active duty, U.S. Navy, February 1942 to January 1946
  • Died: Nov. 12, 1964, in Holmes Beach, Fla., of cancer

Baseball career

  • Catcher, Emerson School, city champions, 1931
  • Catcher, Brighton School, on last city championship team in old Grade School League, 1933
  • Pitcher and outfielder, Palace Fish teams in American Legion League. In final national playoffs, 1934 and 1936
  • Pitcher, catcher, first baseman and outfielder, championship Franklin High School teams, 1934-1937
  • Pitcher, Yakima Indians, Northwest League, 1937
  • Pitcher, Seattle Rainiers, 1938
  • Pitcher, Detroit Tigers, 1939-52
  • Manager, Detroit Tigers, 1952-54
  • Manager, Seattle Rainiers, Pacific Coast League championship team, 1955
  • Manager, St. Louis Cardinals, 1956-58
  • Manager, Seattle Rainiers, 1959, through July
  • Manager, Cincinnati Reds, July 1959 through mid-1964. Managed Reds to World Series, 1961


  • Man of the Year, Seattle, 1938
  • Most Valuable Player, Pacific Coast League, 1938
  • Manager of the Year, National League, 1957
  • Manager of the Year, 1961
  • American League Player Representative, 1947-52
  • Sport magazine Man of the Year, 1964