News Releases

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester wins 2008 Hutch Award

SEATTLE — November 10, 2008 — Left-handed pitcher Jon Lester, who came back from an off-season battle with cancer to pitch the winning game for the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series, will receive the 2008 Hutch Award. The award is given annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of baseball great Fred Hutchinson, both on and off the field.

The 24-year-old Tacoma, Wash., native made his Major League Baseball debut in June 2006. Lester ended the 2008 season with a 16-6 win/loss record and a 3.21 ERA with 152 strike outs.

"This is a tremendous honor for me and my family to have been selected for the Hutch Award," Lester said. "I'm humbled to know that legends such as Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax and Lou Brock have won this award in the past."

Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in August 2006. Referred to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the treatment arm of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and recuperated at his parents' home in Puyallup, Wash. In December 2006, doctors determined he was cancer-free and in February 2007 he joined the Red Sox for spring training in Florida. After some work in the minors, he returned to the major league mound against the Cleveland Indians on July 23, 2007. Boston won the game, 6-2.

"Congratulations to Jon Lester on the Hutch Award. Jon handled his adversity with grace and dignity," said Red Sox Manager Terry Francona. "He is an inspiration to us all, on top of just being a really good kid."

Lester's experience with cancer has affected his life off the field and has influenced his fans. For example, he has taken time to meet young fans undergoing cancer treatment, and a group of Boston-area college students have started The Lester Project, which raises money for the Jimmy Fund, a cancer-research charity associated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The Red Sox honored Lester with its 2007 Tony Conigliaro Award and the American League named him Player of the Week (May 19-25, 2008) and Pitcher of the Month for both July and September, 2008.

Lester will visit children at the Hutchinson Center's Hutch School and receive his award at the annual Hutch Award Luncheon on Jan. 21 at Safeco Field in Seattle. Legendary pitcher and baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver will be the luncheon's keynote speaker.

Funds raised through the Hutch Award Luncheon benefit The Gregory Fund® for early cancer-detection research at the Hutchinson Center. The Gregory Fund was established in 2003 as a collaboration of the Hutchinson Center and The Moyer Foundation, founded by major-league pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen.

The Hutchinson Center was founded by Fred's brother Bill, a prominent Seattle surgeon, after Fred died of cancer at age 45. The Hutch Award was established in 1965 and was first given to Mickey Mantle. Other Hutch Award winners have included Moyer, 2007 recipient Mike Sweeney, Mark Loretta, Craig Biggio, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, Omar Vizquel, Sandy Koufax and Carl Yastrzemski. In all, 11 Hall-of-Famers have received the Hutch Award. For more information about the Hutch Award, including a full list of past recipients, visit www.fhcrc.org/hutchaward.

 

Media Contact
Christi Ball Loso
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5215
closo@fhcrc.org

###

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.