Giants pitcher Barry Zito has been named the 2013 recipient of the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, given annually to a Major Leaguer who best exemplifies the giving nature of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.
The award, sponsored by the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, was first introduced in 1955 and is maintained at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Zito will receive his award from a group of Phi Delta Theta representatives prior to Tuesday night's game against the Brewers.
A two-time World Series champion and former Cy Young Award winner, Zito earned the Gehrig Award for the multitude of contributions he's made off the field during his 14-year career.
Among his various work in the community, Zito founded "Strikeouts for Troops," an organization geared toward providing the comforts of home to wounded troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Along with his own foundation, Zito supports a number of other similar programs including Welcome Back Veterans, Fisher House Foundation, Operation Care and Comfort and NCIRE.
Aside from his work with the military, Zito in 2008 inaugurated the Barry Zito Giants Field in Stockton, Calif., to benefit the Stockton Junior Giants League. He and his wife, Amber, also support the St. Anthony Foundation, which helps provide meals to San Francisco's homeless population, along with other charitable organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, global illiteracy, organ donation and cancer research.
With this honor, Zito joins Alvin Dark, the award's inaugural winner, as the only Giants in franchise history to win the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.