HOUSTON — April 22, 2006 — The Houston Astros' Craig Biggio, the only baseball player ever to be named an All-Star both as catcher and second baseman, was honored as the recipient of the prestigious Hutch Award during an on-field ceremony at Minute Maid Park preceding the Astros versus Pittsburgh Pirates game this evening.
Biggio formally received the Hutch Award at a Feb. 1 luncheon ceremony at Seattle's Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.
The Hutch Award was established in 1965 to honor baseball great Fred Hutchinson and is given annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies his fighting spirit and competitive desire. Fred Hutchinson's brother Bill, a prominent oncologist, founded the Hutchinson Center in Fred's name after Fred died of cancer at age 45.
Hutch Award committee members cited Biggio's versatility and his willingness to try new roles and do whatever it takes to win a ball game. In addition, Biggio's compassion and activities for children and the community were cited as having inspired his teammates and fans.
Biggio, renowned as a Houston Astros "Killer B" along with teammates Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman, was drafted by the Astros in the first round in 1987. He became the Astros' starting catcher and made the All-Star team in 1991. At spring training in 1992 Biggio was persuaded to try second base; that very year he again made the All-Star team.
Biggio, who led the Majors in runs scored in 1995 and 1997 and doubles in 1994, 1998 and 1999, is at the top of the Astros career list in games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits and doubles. In 2005, his leadership helped Houston claim the National League Championship and reach the World Series for the first time in team history.
In 1999, Biggio was selected by a panel of experts as the franchise's second baseman on the All-Astrodome team. Biggio went on to be inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.
In recognition of his charitable efforts Biggio was named one of The Sporting News' Good Guys in 2004. He and his wife, Patty, are active in The Sunshine Kids, a support organization for children with cancer and their families, raising $1.8 million dollars for the group by hosting the annual Sunshine Kids Celebrity Golf Classic. The Biggios also hold an annual baseball party at Minute Maid Park, at which more than 100 children with cancer play baseball with Biggio serving as pitcher, and a holiday party at the Sunshine Kids house that the Biggios helped restore and furnish.
Past Hutch Award winners include Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastremski, Curt Schilling, Trevor Hoffman and Jamie Moyer. The 1999 Hutch Award winner, Sean Casey of the Pittsburgh Pirates, had hoped to be present for tonight's ceremony until he was placed on the 15-day disabled list for two fractures of the traverse process in his left lower back.
For more information visit the Hutch Award webpage.
Christi Ball Loso
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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.