9/16 Rizzo is Cubs’ Clemente nominee

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is the team’s nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente award. Tuesday marks the 12th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially acknowledge local club nominees of the award. The annual Roberto Clemente Award recognizes a MLB player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

“It’s really an honor,” Rizzo said Monday. “It’s something that Roberto did his entire career. For him to do what he did and establish his name, it’s pretty cool to be associated with that and all the guys who have won over the years.”

Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma when he was 18 years old and in the Minor Leagues, and beat it. This December, he will hold his second five-kilometer walk a thon to celebrate five years since he was cancer free.

“Being sick, this is something we wanted to do right away,” he said of his Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. “Being here and having the opportunity to be more than just a baseball player who plays baseball and that’s it, it’s cool.”

“Being nominated for this is really an honor to me and my family because they’ve helped me through everything in life,” he said.

Rizzo will be recognized for his nomination before the Cubs’ Sept. 23 game against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. His foundation will be presented a $7,500 grant as a result of his nomination for this award.

Beginning Tuesday, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award recipient by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends on Oct. 6. Participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2013 World Series.

Rizzo, diagnosed in April 2008 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, decided when he was hospitalized that he wanted to help children and their families. In 2012, he created the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, and last December, hosted the first “Walk Off for Cancer” in his hometown of Parkland, Fla. The event raised more than $100,000. In August this year, Rizzo and his foundation staged its first event in Chicago, a “Cook Off for Cancer” featuring local chefs presenting their take on traditional ballpark food. It was a success as the foundation received more than $150,000 in donations.

– Carrie Muskat

2 Comments

Good luck Rizzo! I hope he wins this award! It will be well deserved! He is the finest example of what baseball players are all about both on and off the field.

My father died of that disease in 1968. I congratulate Anthony Rizzo as a survivor and as an activist to rid humanity of this horrible disease. His efforts should be rewarded by receiving the Roberto Clemente award. Let’s get on his bandwagon Cub’s fans. Is this not also a worthy victory?

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