According to the Associated Press, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has won the 2014 Branch Rickey Award for his community work with pediatric cancer patients.
The Branch Rickey Award, which was created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 1991, sets out to recognize those in the baseball community who provide “service above self.” Each year, all 30 teams nominate a candidate from their organization. At 25, Rizzo is the youngest ever to win the award. Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who won the award last year, previously held that distinction.
Rizzo overcame Hodgkin’s Lymphoma early on his professional career and started the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 to raise money for cancer research and help families affected by the disease. He has raised more than $500,000 with two “Walk Offs for Cancer” and two “Cook Offs for Cancer” and also pays regular visits to pediatric cancer patients in Chicago and in Hollywood, Florida.
“It’s awesome. It really is,” Rizzo said. “What he did, obviously with Jackie Robinson, it’s pretty special to win the award. To be recognized for something like that, it’s special for me and my family.”
Rizzo was an All-Star for the first time this season, but it’s nice to see that he’s doing some fantastic work off the field, as well. We haven’t heard enough about that kind of thing lately in the sports world.