Hutch Award Luncheon
Alex Gordon is an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals who was drafted in 2005 and made his major league debut with the Royals in 2007. His professional career started with a bang as he became the first player in history to win Baseball America’s College Player of the Year (2005) and Minor League Player of the Year (2006) in consecutive season. Gordon is currently batting .292 with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs, he is also the Royals nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
In 2010, struggles and injuries derailed his young career and he appeared in just 74 games for the Royals due to injury and a demotion to the minors. Gordon seized this opportunity to rewrite his career and returned in 2011 and set career highs in every offensive category.
In addition to a breakout season on the diamond in 2011, Gordon had a breakout season in the community as well. Gordon has been a longtime supporter of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), and serves as a local spokesperson participating in public service announcements, welcoming children diagnosed with cancer out to the ballpark and visiting youngsters at local children's hospitals. Despite his longtime support of ALSF, it was another cancer-related cause that recently brought Gordon's giving spirit to the forefront. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer while Gordon was in college and it was her successful treatment that inspired him to become involved in the Nebraska Diamond Dawgs, a Little League team raising funds for the American Cancer Society. Gordon has hosted the Diamond Dawgs and their families at Kauffman Stadium, donated memorabilia for their fundraising efforts and hosted the Playing for Pink Casino Night which raised more than $120,000.
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Felix Hernandez is a pitcher for the Seattle Mariners who signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2002 and made his major league debut with the Mariners in 2005. In eight seasons with the Mariners, Hernandez has become one of the most dominating pitchers in Major League Baseball. He is a three time American League All-Star and was named the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2010. Hernandez currently has a 13 – 8 record with a 2.85 ERA, 207 strike outs and pitched the first perfect game in franchise history on August 15, 2012. He is also the Mariners nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Hernandez has also played a large role off the field. Since arriving in Seattle, he has reached out to numerous kids with life threatening medical conditions in effort to bring hope to each child by assisting both Seattle Children's and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2012, he helped promote Run of Hope, volunteered to help the WSCADV Refuse to Abuse campaign as a spokesman, and is also active with the Martinez Foundation. Over his career, Hernandez has supported a number of local charities and non-profit organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and also remains involved with Mariners Care, the Mariners, non-profit foundation.
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Ryan Ludwick is an outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds who was drafted in 1999 and made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers in 2002. Having played for the Rangers, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates, Ludwick was selected to the All-Star team in 2008 and won a Silver Slugger Award the same year. Landing with the Reds in 2012, Ludwick is currently batting .276 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs.
Ludwick’s major league debut season was cut short when he fractured his hip that same year, an injury that significantly hampered his career. After a number of trades and working his way back through the minors, Ludwick had a breakout 2008 season with the Cardinals that earned him an everyday player role. Unfortunately, 2009 would bring another injury and a stint on the DL for 15 games, but he bounced back earning National League Player of the Month honors.
As a veteran player with postseason experience, Ludwick is a clear leader in the Reds’ clubhouse and anchored their offense while Joey Votto missed 48 games with a knee injury. In that span, Ludwick hit .340 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs, all team highs.
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Brandon McCarthy is a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics who made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox in 2005. In 2006, he was traded to the Texas Rangers and then signed as a free agent with the Athletics in 2010. McCarthy currently has an 8 – 6 record with a 3.24 ERA and 73 strikeouts and is the Athletics nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
On September 5, 2012, McCarthy was pitching against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when he was hit in the right side of the head by a line drive. He was knocked down by the shot and hit his head on the ground. Despite walking off the field under his own power, McCarthy suffered an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture. After undergoing two hours of surgery to relieve pressure in his head and six day stay in the hospital, McCarthy was released less than a week after the injury. He isn’t expected to pitch again this season, but has plans to return to baseball once he returns to full strength.
In June 2012, McCarthy and his wife, Amanda, helped raise more than $18,000 to aid people and animals displaced by destructive wildfires in Colorado through an autograph session, silent auction before an Athletics game and an online auction of autographed memorabilia from players across the league. The proceeds were donated to the Pikes Peak Chapter American Red Cross and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. McCarthy also supports the Beacon Group, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide rehabilitation, work training and emotional support for people with disabilities.
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Logan Morrison is an outfielder for the Miami Marlins who was drafted in 2005 and made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2010. Morrison is currently batting .230 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs, he is also the Marlins nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
During Morrison’s rookie season, his father battled lung cancer and passed away December 2010. After losing his father, Morrison has become dedicated to raising awareness and money for the American Lung Association as well as developing a program with the Marlins Foundation to help children who have lost a parent.
In honor of his father, Morrison hosts an annual baseball camp with all proceeds benefiting the American Lung Association. Since the camp started in 2011, Morrison has raised over $300,000. He also participates in Marlins@School Week where he visits a classroom every year and is a tremendous supporter of Military Mondays/Soldier for a Day where he invites honored service men and women to a meet and greet pregame. In another attempt to help the youth of South Florida deal with difficult challenges, Morrison led the charge in the clubhouse to participate in the Bald, Brave, Beautiful Project. While hosting children from the Miami Children's Hospital cancer center, he invited his teammates, front office, and fans to come out to Marlins Park and shave their heads in support of these young children who are going through chemotherapy. More than 70 staff and players shaved their heads, while an additional 150 fans joined the effort. Morrison also gives his time to support the Marlins Foundation with their fundraising efforts as well as fulfilling the mission of the Club and Foundation.
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Jake Peavy is a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres in 2002. In 2009, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox and currently has an 11 – 12 record with a 3.40 ERA and 180 strikeouts. This season he was also named the American League Pitcher of the Month for April as well, named to the 2012 American League All-Star team and is the White Sox nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
In July 2010, the former Cy Young Award winner suffered a rare and possibly career-ending injury when he tore his right latissimus dorsi tendon completely from the bone during the middle of a game. A groundbreaking surgery repaired the injury, and he astoundingly started for the White Sox on May 11, 2011 defying expectations and racking up two scoreless innings.
Despite having to constantly battle just to get back on the field, Peavy’s commitment to the community never faltered. While he has worked with and continues to work with the White Sox Volunteer Corps, he has also founded The Jake Peavy Foundation and is partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities, the majority of his community outreach efforts support active military and veterans. Peavy, along with a number of other White Sox players, formed the True Heroes program, where they visit veteran’s hospitals both in Chicago and on the road. Under Peavy's leadership, wounded heroes are invited to a game once a month during the season to meet players and enjoy an evening of White Sox baseball. He has formed and maintains friendships with a number of military veterans and also is considered a leader in the Strikeouts for Troops program, which provides the comforts of home and lifts the spirits and morale of wounded troops during treatment at military hospitals nationwide.
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Dan Uggla is a second baseman for the Atlanta Braves who was drafted in 2001 and made his major league debut with the Florida Marlins in 2006. Named the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year, a three time All-Star selection (2006, 2008 and 2012) and National League Silver Slugger Award winner (2010), Uggla was traded to the Braves in 2011 where he is currently batting .215 with 19 home runs and 73 RBIs.
In 2011, Uggla established the Diamonds in the Rough Foundation, non-profit organization with a mission to provide opportunities, support and resources to children and families in need. The primary focus of Diamonds in the Rough is to provide seriously ill and physically challenged children throughout Atlanta with daily support and life changing experiences. Through its signature programs, Diamonds in the Rough will have impacted the lives of more than 250,000 children and their family members by the end of 2013. In August, Uggla launched his first program, Back to School, with the purpose of ensuring that children have the basic items needed to begin the school year. The Back to School program welcomed nearly 100 at-risk elementary school children and provided them with back to school items including back packs, supplies, clothing and shoes. In December, he will host seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families at his Holiday Hearts program which will provide a holiday meal, winter clothing and gifts to make their holiday season a little brighter.
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Rickie Weeks is a second baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers who was drafted in 2003 and made his major league debut with the Brewers that same year. In 2003, he was also named the Baseball America College Player of the Year and received the Golden Spikes Award given annually to the top amateur player. Selected to the 2011 National League All-Star team, Weeks is currently batting .233 with 20 home runs and 61 RBIs, he is also the Brewers nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
Focusing his charitable interests on youth and basic needs in the community, Weeks contributed $75,000 this year to the Brewers Community Foundation, the official charity of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, to support activities and programs targeted to youth recreation, scholarships and education throughout Wisconsin. In addition, he also purchased two new scoreboards for Beckum-Stapleton Little League at Carver Park in central Milwaukee and since 2008, Weeks financially supports the Rickie's Rookies ticket program, which provides hundreds of game tickets and t-shirts to youth groups and organizations throughout Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Weeks has also partnered with the Brewers Community Foundation to serve as sponsors for the 2012 – 2013 Teach for America, Sponsor-A-Teacher initiative in Milwaukee. He participated in the Fatherhood Initiative trip in May 2011, where he hosted fathers and their child on a one day trip to St. Louis to take in a ball game and reinforce the importance of parenting, and reward individuals who have committed to strengthening their own family ties. Weeks also supports the American Diabetes Association raising more than $14,000 through a special ticket offer where fans purchased a ticket and for each ticket purchased, they received an autographed Rickie Weeks bat.
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Ryan Zimmerman is a third baseman for the Washington Nationals who was drafted in 2005 and made his major league debut with the Nationals that same year. A National League All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner in 2009, and two time Silver Slugger Award winner (2009 and 2010), Zimmerman is currently batting .283 with 23 home runs and 89 RBIs, he is also the Nationals nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
Since becoming the first draft pick in Nationals history, Zimmerman has been a standout on and off the field. His commitment to the community is best illustrated through his work with the MS Foundation, which he founded in 2006. The MS Foundation aims to raise money for multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness and programs benefiting those afflicted with MS. Serving as president, Zimmerman is actively involved in making decisions and donates his time, money and image to promoting the foundation. This year, the foundation expects to surpass $1 million in donations for MS charities and research. When Zimmerman signed his first long-term contract in 2009, he and his agents requested a special provision to allow him use of Nationals Park for one night each year for the Night at the Park event. This year more than $200,000 was raised through ticket sales, donations and a live and silent auction.
Zimmerman’s community outreach extends well beyond the ziMS Foundation. He visits local children's hospitals several times each season, and frequently brings his teammates with him to teach the importance of giving back. He also volunteers with other various activities including Washington Nationals Dream Foundation initiatives, youth baseball clinics, D.C. Public Library literacy campaigns, and assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A former baseball player at the University of Virginia, Ryan recently made a donation of $250,000 to the UVA Athletics Department for improvements to their baseball program.
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Barry Zito is a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants who was drafted in 1999 and made his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics in 2000. The American League Cy Young Award winner in 2002 and three time American League All-Star selection (2002, 2003 and 2006) signed with the Giants in 2007, won a World Series with the team and currently has a 13 – 8 record with a 4.18 ERA and 105 strikeouts.
Zito's commitment to community through his work with the St. Anthony Foundation and his own foundation, Strikeouts for Troops, continues to exemplify what it means to be a leader in the community. His support and efforts bring awareness to the St. Anthony Foundation, which provides over 2,600 meals, 365 days a year, to the hungry and homeless of San Francisco. Zito not only volunteers his time to serve meals in the dining room, but he contributes generously to the foundation, which reaches out to many of war veterans.
Since 2005, Zito’s Strikeouts for Troops Foundation has provided the comforts of home and lifted the spirits and morale of wounded troops while being treated at military hospitals nationwide. The foundation is supported by players and fans throughout Major League Baseball with all funds raised directed to help injured troops and their families. During spring training, Zito personally hosts a group of service men and women for the weekend in Arizona, culminating in a special dinner and music show with Zito and many of his MLB teammates and friends. He is also supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics and Make-a-Wish Foundation.
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