Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler will receive the 47th annual Hutch Award, given annually to a major league baseball player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of baseball great Fred Hutchinson, on and off the field.
Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will give the keynote address at the Hutch Award Luncheon Feb. 1 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Fred Hutchinsons hometown. The event raises funds to benefit early cancer detection research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Butler is the fifth member of the Kansas City franchise to win the Hutch Award, following George Brett (1980), Dennis Leonard (1986), Mike Sweeney (2007) and Mark Teahen (2009).
Butler, a 25-year-old native of Orange Park, FL., made his MLB debut with the Royals in 2007, having been selected out of high school in the first round of the 2004 draft.
In his rookie season, Butler batted .292 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs. Two years later, he hit .301 while surpassing 500 at bats.
Despite his desire to play in the field, Butler was given full-time duty as the Royals designated hitter in 2011. He turned the assignment into an opportunity to become one of the most consistent hitters in the American League, finishing the season with a .291 batting average, 44 doubles, 95 RBIs and 19 home runs.
Off the field, Butler is known for his selfless attitude and desire to help others. In 2008, Butler and his wife, Katie, started the Hit-It-A-Ton campaign to help feed disadvantaged families in the Kansas City area. Through the program, $250 is donated for each home run Butler hits (and $125 for each double).
In its first three years, the campaign raised in excess of $200,000, providing more than 960 tons of food through two food banks and a community kitchen run by Kansas Citys Bishop Sullivan Center.
When Butler arrives in Seattle to receive his award, he will visit cancer research labs at the Hutchinson Center as well as the Hutch School, a unique K-12 accredited education program that serves young cancer patients and school-age family members of patients.
The Hutch Award recipient is selected annually through a vote of all surviving former awardees. A total of 46 players have been honored since 1965, when Mickey Mantle accepted the inaugural award.
Baseball Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie McCovey and Lou Brock all received the Hutch Award.
In more recent years Jamie Moyer, Craig Biggio, Jon Lester, Mark Teahen and Tim Hudson have joined their ranks.
Hutch Award Winners (1965-11)
|1965||Mickey Mantle||New York Yankees|
|1966||Sandy Koufax||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|1967||Carl Yastrzemski||Boston Red Sox|
|1968||Pete Rose||Cincinnati Reds|
|1969||Al Kaline||Detroit Tigers|
|1970||Tony Conigliaro||Boston Red Sox|
|1971||Joe Torre||St. Louis Cardinals|
|1972||Bobby Tolan||Cincinnati Reds|
|1973||John Hiller||Detroit Tigers|
|1974||Danny Thompson||Minnesota Twins|
|1975||Gary Nolan||Cincinnati Reds|
|1976||Tommy John||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|1977||Willie McCovey||San Francisco Giants|
|1978||Willie Stargell||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|1979||Lou Brock||St. Louis Cardinals|
|1980||George Brett||Kansas City Royals|
|1981||Johnny Bench||Cincinnati Reds|
|1982||Andre Thornton||Cleveland Indians|
|1983||Ray Knight||Houston Astros|
|1984||Don Robinson||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|1985||Rick Reuschel||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|1986||Dennis Leonard||Kansas City Royals|
|1987||Paul Molitor||Milwaukee Brewers|
|1988||Ron Oester||Cincinnati Reds|
|1989||Dave Dravecky||San Francisco Giants|
|1990||Sid Bream||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|1991||Bill Wegman||Milwaukee Brewers|
|1992||Carney Lansford||Oakland Athletics|
|1993||John Olerud||Toronto Blue Jays|
|1994||Andre Dawson||Boston Red Sox|
|1995||Jim Abbott||California Angels|
|1996||Omar Vizquel||Cleveland Indians|
|1997||Eric Davis||Baltimore Orioles|
|1998||David Cone||New York Yankees|
|1999||Sean Casey||Cincinnati Reds|
|2000||Jason Giambi||Oakland Athletics|
|2001||Curt Schilling||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|2002||Tim Salmon||Anaheim Angels|
|2003||Jamie Moyer||Seattle Mariners|
|2004||Trevor Hoffman||San Diego Padres|
|2005||Craig Biggio||Houston Astros|
|2006||Mark Loretta||Boston Red Sox|
|2007||Mike Sweeney||Kansas City Royals|
|2008||Jon Lester||Boston Red Sox|
|2009||Mark Teahen||Kansas City Royals|
|2010||Tim Hudson||Atlanta Braves|
|2011||Billy Butler||Kansas City Royals|