Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a Greenville Drive alum, has been selected as the Cubs' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.
The Roberto Clemente Award pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current major leaguers who best represent the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. All 30 major league teams nominate one player each year for the prestigious award. Major League Baseball has also designated September 17th as Roberto Clemente Day to both honor Clemente's legacy and officially recognize each team's nominees for the award.
In 2008, while playing with the Drive, Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. After undergoing six months of chemotherapy, he went into remission and has lived a normal, healthy life since. Dealing with cancer encouraged Rizzo to help others out dealing with similar circumstances, and in 2012, he founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for cancer research and gives support to children and their families who are battling the disease.
In addition to doing good deeds off the field, Rizzo is having plenty of success on the field as well. In his second season as the Cubs' first baseman, he proved to be a young player the team can build around. He smacked 23 homers, drove in 80 runs, hit 40 doubles and drew 76 walks in 160 games this season while posting a .233 batting average.
Before his diagnosis in 2008, Rizzo played in 21 games with the Drive, hitting .373. He returned to Greenville to begin the 2009 season and hit .298 with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 64 games before earning a promotion to High-A Salem.