Cleat Geeks

Heart & Hustle

Created by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association in 2005, the Heart & Hustle Award is voted on by Alumni and active Major League players and is given out to an active player who shows passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and traditions of the ARizzo-YongPhotogame. The MLBPAA formed 30 committees, comprised of Alumni players with relationships to each team. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on the passion, desire, and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field. As the baseball season comes to a close, all Alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. This year, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo won the Heart & Hustle Award.rizzo-chicago-cubs1

The heart comes easy for Rizzo, off the field he spends his time regularly visiting children’s hospitals. He started his own charity, the “Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.” The mission for his foundation is to raise money for cancer research and to provide support to children and their families battling the disease. If you’re not aware, Anthony battled cancer himself. In 2008, when he was just 18 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. During this time he was playing Single A ball after being drafted by the Boston Red Sox organization right out of high school. Rizzo went through six months of chemotherapy. On September 2nd 2008, Anthony was in remission and on November 18th 2008, he was cancer free.

Anthony realized during his own battle with cancer that no matter howAnthony-Rizzo-running difficult fighting cancer was for him, it was even more difficult for his family, which motivated him to start the foundation.

Do I even have to talk about the hustle? Anthony has become the face of the Chicago Cubs. From doing the splits at first base to get a runner out, to jumping over the tarp to make the catch, Rizzo is an unbelievable athlete. He finished the 2015 season with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs. Only in his fifth season in the MLB, he was selected to his second straight All-Star Game this season and competed in the Home Run Derby. He even helped lead his team to their first post season appearance since 2008.04585349a9eef8fd24980d5d8ba20f16_crop_north

“It’s cool,” Rizzo said. “It’s something I try to pride myself on. I know the numbers are going to be up and down throughout the year but you can always come and play hard, play the game hard. That’s the way I feel like the game should be played at this level. It’s consistency with hustle. It’s a good feeling to be recognized like that.” Congratulations Anthony, you deserve it!

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