Cubs veteran first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a silver slugger with a heart of gold. The three-time All-Star and 2016 World Series Champion has battled the premier pitchers in baseball throughout his career. He’s also won a battle against cancer early in his MLB career which began when he was drafted by the Red Sox in 2007.
Since overcoming cancer at the age of 18, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has risen to the top of the baseball world.
Rizzo has continued to fight, not only for himself but for others who have met hard times and failing health. Rizzo was diagnosed with Limited Stage Classical Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2008 and at the age of 28. Having bested the disease with the help of his familys love and support and now a celebrity at the top of his profession, Rizzo uses his platform to regularly visit hospitals, befriending pediatric cancer patients and their families, and offering support and sharing his experiences. The kids are a major source of inspiration for him.
Of all the awards Rizzo has accumulated in baseball, being named the 2017 winner of The Roberto Clemente Award is a true reflection of his value to the Chicago community and his worth as a man.
Anthony Rizzo’s impressive legacy will now include a Roberto Clemente Award: https://t.co/HSnA8tXE3m (@MooneyNBCS)
The award is the annual recognition of a Major League player from each MLB Club who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Rizzo created the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation to support children battling cancer and their families, as well as to fund cancer research. He was to receive the award Friday night at Minute Maid Park before Game 3 of the Dodgers-Astros World Series.
Obviously with what Roberto did, he kind of set the bar for all athletes, especially baseball players, in all of his charitable work, everything he did giving back, Rizzo said. To be a part of this award and (included among) all the past winners, its insane to see where our foundation has come from and so humbled to be part of this.
Rizzo is the third Cubs player to receive the award, following pitcher Rick Sutcliffe (1987) and Slammin’ Sammy Sosa (1998). All 30 MLB teams offer nominees, but only one player is chosen by fans and media. There was one exception in 2014 when Jimmy Rollins and Paul Konerko shared the award. Curtis Grandersonwon last season as a member of the New York Mets.
Its insane over the past few years how many people tell me we helped someone out, and it makes me so happy, Rizzo said.
Anthony Rizzo wins baseball’s coveted Roberto Clemente award for his charitable work https://t.co/NnlY4KufyP
Originally called the Commissioners Award, the name was changed in 1973 in honor of Pirates Hall of Famer Clemente, the ultimate, selfless humanitarian and champion for the underserved, who was killed in a plane crash the previous New Years Eve attempting to deliver much needed supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Community activism and social activism of this nature should be celebrated as much as the negative aspects of professional sports and a spotlight should shine brightly on the players who not only get buckets, make tackles and hurl shutouts, but the superstars who also transcend the game, use their platform to do widespread reform of peoples fortunes and positively influence their communities.