Barry Zito, who won the opening game and helped lead the San Francisco Giants to the World Series championship last month, will receive the 48th annual Hutch Award, given each year in Seattle to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies, on and off the field, the honor, courage and dedication of baseball great and Seattle native Fred Hutchinson.
The award will be presented at the annual Hutch Award Luncheon Jan. 30 at Safeco Field, where former Mariners manager Lou Piniella will give the keynote address. Event proceeds will benefit early cancer detection at Fred Hutch, one of the world’s premier cancer research centers
Zito, a three-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner for the Oakland A’s, climaxed his return to form with the Giants by beating in Game 1 Detroit’s Justin Verlander and the Tigers, leading to a Series sweep. Piniella managed the Mariners to their greatest successes from 1993-2003 and retired after stops in Tampa Bay and with the Cubs in Chicago.
Off the field, Zito founded the nonprofit organization Strikeouts For Troops, supported by more than 100 MLB players, coaches and managers, athletes from other sports, corporate sponsorships and the public, to provide comforts of home to injured troops.
Additionally, the foundation works to lift the morale of wounded U.S. troops and their families undergoing treatment at military hospitals. Barry and his wife, Amber, also support the St. Anthony Foundation, which provides thousands of meals every day to San Francisco’s hungry and homeless. They also support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, global illiteracy, organ donation and cancer research.
Zito, 34, made his debut with the Athletics in 2000. In his rookie season, he posted a 7-4 record, finishing sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year vote. By 2002 he was was named to his first All-Star team. He won the American League Cy Young award with a 23-5 record.
Following his seventh season with the Athletics, Zito signed a seven-year deal with the San Francisco Giants in 2006. He posted double-digit wins in his first three seasons, but slumped in 2010 and was left off the playoff roster of the Giants, who went on win San Francisco’ first championship since the team moved from New York in 1958.
After sitting out part of the 2011 season with a foot and ankle injury, he came back in 2012 and finished 15-8, his best season in a Giants uniform. In October, Zito went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three post-season starts.
Part of the Zitos’ Seattle visit will include a tour of research labs at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a visit with children at the Hutch School, a unique K-12 accredited education program that serves young cancer patients and school-age family members of patients.
The award recipient is selected annually through a vote of former awardees. A total of 47 players have been honored since 1965, when Mickey Mantle accepted the inaugural award. Baseball Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie McCovey and Lou Brock are among the recipients. More recently former Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer, Craig Biggio, Jon Lester, Mark Teahen, Tim Hudson and Billy Butler have joined their ranks.
For more information or to register for the Hutch Award Luncheon, visit www.fhcrc.org/hutchaward.