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Monday, November 10, 2008
After battling cancer, tossing no-hitter, Lester wins Hutch Award

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Boston left-hander Jon Lester, who has recovered from cancer, clinched the World Series for the Red Sox in 2007 and threw a no-hitter last season, was selected as the recipient of the Hutch Award.

Lester
Lester

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle made the announcement on Monday.

It gives the award annually to a major league player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of former major league pitcher and manager Fred Hutchinson, who died from cancer in 1964 at age 45.

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

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. Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver will be the keynote speaker.

Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in August 2006, after leaving the Red Sox while they were in Seattle because he was having mysterious back pain. He was referred to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the treatment arm of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. There he had six rounds of chemotherapy before recuperating at his parents' home in Puyallup, Wash.

Doctors determined he was free of cancer in December 2006. He rejoined the Red Sox for spring training and pitched again in a major league game on July 23, 2007.

Lester was 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 2008 while helping lead Boston to the postseason. He threw the 18th no-hitter in Red Sox history on May 19 against the Kansas City Royals.

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

The Hutch Award was established in 1965, with Mantle the first recipient. Other Hutch Award winners have included 2007 recipient Mike Sweeney, Jamie Moyer, Mark Loretta, Craig Biggio, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, Omar Vizquel and Carl Yastrzemski.

Eleven members of baseball's Hall of Fame have received the Hutch Award.