SEATTLE – Raúl Ibañez, an outfielder and designated hitter for the Seattle Mariners who is considered one of the most consistent and professional players in Major League Baseball, will receive the 49th annual Hutch Award® at a Jan. 30 luncheon at Seattle’s Safeco Field.
The award is given each year to an MLB player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of baseball great Fred Hutchinson, both on and off the field. Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew will give the Hutch Award Luncheon’s keynote address; proceeds from the event will benefit cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Over the past 14 years, the Hutch Award Luncheon has raised gross proceeds of more than $3.8 million to support the mission of Fred Hutch, which was established in the early ‘70s by Seattle surgeon Dr. William Hutchinson in honor of his brother and baseball hero Fred, who died of lung cancer at age 45.
“I’m really at a loss for words. It’s a tremendous honor; I’m humbled and grateful,” Ibañez said upon hearing he was named the award winner.
“It is extra special to me to win this award while playing for Seattle, Fred Hutchinson’s hometown and the city my family and I choose to make our home, as well as the home of the Hutch center and the great work they do for patients here and all over the world.”
This year Ibañez hit 29 home runs, including the 300th of his career, tying him with Ted Williams for most home runs in a season by a player 41 or older.
During 16 seasons, he has played for the Mariners (three times), Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees. He was a National League All-Star in 2009 (Philadelphia), a six-time Player of the Week and a two-time Mariners MVP, an honor designated by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Seattle chapter.
Ibañez has received the MLB Players Association Heart & Hustle Award three times and has four times been the Mariners nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball’s highest honor for community service. The Sporting News named Ibañez one the “Good Guys” in sports and he also received the Tug McGraw Good Guy Award from the Philadelphia chapter of the BBWAA.
Ibañez is as widely respected for his accomplishments on the field as he is for his character, leadership and community involvement.
His many community activities include chairing the annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament; supporting Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program, which works to make books available to at-risk children throughout the state of Washington; and involvement with Make-A-Wish®, Boys & Girls Clubs, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Treehouse, Covenant House Pennsylvania and Project H.O.M.E.
He also serves as a spokesman for “Refuse to Abuse,” the Mariners’ unique partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The program raises awareness of violence in intimate relationships through public service announcements in both English and Spanish.
Ibañez and his wife, Tery (short for Teryvette), live in Issaquah, Wash., with their two sons, Raul Jr. and Luca, and three daughters, Sophia, Victoria and Carolina.
“Fred Hutchinson exemplified honor, courage and dedication, traits that we should all try to live our lives by,” Ibañez said.
The Hutch Award recipient is selected annually through a vote of all surviving former awardees. A total of 48 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 are past recipients. In more recent years Jamie Moyer, Craig Biggio, Jon Lester, Mark Teahen, Tim Hudson, Billy Butler and Barry Zito have joined their ranks.