SEATTLE — Jan. 19, 2017 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced Miami Marlins pitcher Dustin McGowan has been named the 52nd annual Hutch Award winner. The award is given yearly to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the honor, courage, and dedication of the legendary baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson, for whom the cancer research center was named.
McGowan will be presented the award on Jan. 25 at a luncheon on Safeco Field, with all funds raised from the event dedicated to advancing cancer research at Fred Hutch. Over the past 17 years, the luncheon has raised more than $5.4 million to support lifesaving research. Jim Rice, former All-Star left-fielder for the Boston Red Sox and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, will deliver the keynote address.
In 2000, the Toronto Blue Jays selected McGowan directly out of high school as the 33rd overall pick in the first round of the MLB draft. While finding success in the minors, his 2004 season was cut short when he underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow. While recovering from surgery, McGowan discovered he was diabetic. Not letting this derail his drive to play, McGowan made his major league debut with the Blue Jays in July 2005.
Over the last 12 years, McGowan has learned to pitch with an insulin pump attached to him. Prior to joining the Miami Marlins in 2016, controlling his blood-sugar level was easier because he was a starter, and he knew the routine he needed to avoid insulin spikes. However, his first year with the Marlins also brought his first year as a relief pitcher, which proved more difficult for him as a diabetic because he never knew when he would be called on to pitch. He finished the 2016 season, pitching in 55 games with a 1-3 record, 2.82 ERA, and 63 strikeouts.
McGowan is known off the field for his efforts to raise awareness and support for families impacted by diabetes and for research to find cures. McGowan and his family host meet and greets at Diabetes Research Institute, located near Marlins Park, answering questions, signing autographs, and taking pictures with all of the kids. McGowan also treated kids and parents to a night at the ballpark where he and his family spent the night getting to know the families. Since his arrival in Miami, McGowan has not only been a steady arm for the Marlins, but an inspiration to a population that needs assistance.
For more information about the Hutch Award, including a list of past recipients, click here.