Seattle’s own “King” Felix Hernandez is among 10 Major League Baseball players to be nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in baseball, the annual Hutch Award.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the award, which will be presented January 29 at Safeco Field in Seattle, the hometown of legendary baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson and the cancer research center that bears his name. MLB teams are invited to nominate players for the award each year. The winner is ultimately selected via vote by past recipients.
The full list of this year’s Hutch Award nominees is as follows:
“It’s an all-star list of players including our own team’s MVP Felix Hernandez,” said Jesse Ottele, a member of the Hutch Award Committee. “He represents the city very well and it’s great to have him as a nominee.”
Since 1965, the Hutch Award has been presented annually to an MLB player who exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of baseball great Fred “Hutch” Hutchinson, who died of lung cancer at the age of 45 after a storied career that included pitching for the Detroit Tigers and managing the Tigers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds.
A year after his death, Hutch's longtime friends Bob Prince, broadcaster of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago sportswriter Jim Enright and Dayton Journal Herald sports editor Ritter Collett created the Hutch Award. They also launched a scholarship fund for medical students engaged in cancer research to honor Hutch's memory.
Mickey Mantle received the inaugural Award and last year’s award went to former Seattle Mariner Raul Ibanez, who played for the Kansas City Royals most recently. Other recipients include Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie McCovey, Lou Brock, George Brett and Johnny Bench. All told, Hutch Award winners have included Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductees and multiple league and World Series MVPs. The long list of winners also includes pitcher and cancer survivor Jon Lester, who helped clinch the World Series for the Boston Red Sox after undergoing treatment for anaplastic large cell lymphoma at Fred Hutch.
Shane Hollett, acting vice president of development and philanthropy at the Hutch, said a few greats, like recipient Sandy Koufax, are still very active in the voting process.
“Koufax was the second Hutch Award recipient and he still votes every year,” Hollett said.
Ottele, who works on the event year-round, said the annual luncheon is slated to include a bevy of baseball legends.
Over the past 15 years, the Hutch Award Luncheon has raised gross proceeds of more than $4.3 million to support lifesaving research at Fred Hutch which was founded by Seattle surgeon Bill Hutchinson after the death of his brother, Fred. The independent, nonprofit center works to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and related diseases.
Additional information about the Hutch Award, including a full list of recipients, is available here.
Diane Mapes is a staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She has also written extensively about health issues for nbcnews.com, TODAY.com, CNN.com, MSN.com, Columns and several other publications. She also writes the breast cancer blog, doublewhammied.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.