Beyond Golf — 06 November 2013 by Jim Street
Ibanez wins prestigious Hutch Award

The Hutch Award is coming home – again.

Mariners free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez was selected Tuesday as the recipient of the 49th annual Hutch Award to be presented next Jan. 30 at a benefit luncheon at Safeco Field.

The national award is given each year to an MLB player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of former baseball standout Fred Hutchinson, whose struggle with cancer led to the formation of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Hall of Fame infielder Rod Carew will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon, which has helped raise $3.8 million over the past 14 years to support cancer research at the Fred Hutch Center.

Ibanez joins former Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer as a Hutch Award recipient.

“I’m really at a loss for words,” Ibanez said. “It’s a tremendous honor. I’m humbled and grateful. It is extra special to me to win this award while playing for Seattle, Fred Hutchinson’s hometown and the city my family and I choose to make our home, as well as the home of the Hutch Center and the great work they do for patients here and all over the world.”

Ibanez, 41, became a free agent after hitting 29 home runs last season for the Mariners, tying him with Ted Williams for the most homers in a season by a player 40 or older.

The Hutch Award is selected annually through a vote of all surviving former winners. Forty-eight players have been honored since 1965, when Mickey Mantle accepted the inaugural award. Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie McCovey and Lou Brock are among the 11 Hall of Famers to have won the award.

There have been 11 league Most Valuable Players to win the honor and seven World Series MVPs. Recent winners include Moyer, Craig Biggio, Jon Lester, Mark Teahen and, last year, Barry Zito.

Ibanez has played for the Mariners, Royals, Phillies and Yankees over his 18-year career. He was a National League All-Star in 2009 with the Phillies and has been a two-time Mariners MVP, as selected by Seattle’s chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Ibanez has received the MLB Players Association Heart & Hustle Award three times and has been the Mariners nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball’s highest honor for community service, on four different occasions. The Sporting News named him one of the “Good Guys” in sports and he also received the Tug McGraw Good Guy Award from the Philadelphia chapter of the BBWAA.

His many community activities include chairing the annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament; supporting Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program, which works to make books available to at-risk children throughout the state of Washington; and involvement with Make-A-Wish, Boys & Girls Clubs, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Treehouse, Covenant House Pennsylvania and Project H.O.M.E.

Ibanez also serves as a spokesman for “Refuse to Abuse,” the Mariners’ partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Ibanez and his wife, Tery, live in Issaquah, Wash., with their two sons, Raul Jr. and Luca, and three daughters, Sophia, Victoria and Carolina. As a member of the Seattle community, he’s well aware of the efforts of the Fred Hutch Center, which was founded in 1975 by Seattle surgeon Dr. William Hutchinson in honor of his brother, Fred, who died of lung cancer at age 45.

Fred Hutchinson was a Seattle native who attended the University of Washington before going on to become an All-Star pitcher for the Tigers and manager of the Tigers, Cardinals and Reds before his death in 1964.

“Fred Hutchinson exemplified honor, courage and dedication, traits that we should all try to live our lives by,” Ibanez said.

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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