DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis' inspiring return from a battle with testicular cancer has earned him the 2017 Tony Conigliaro Award. The award will be presented at the 79th annual Boston Baseball Writers' dinner, co-hosted by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and the
DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis' inspiring return from a battle with testicular cancer has earned him the 2017 Tony Conigliaro Award. The award will be presented at the 79th annual Boston Baseball Writers' dinner, co-hosted by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and the Sports Museum, on Jan. 18.
Since 1990, a player each year has been honored in the name of Conigliaro -- a former Red Sox star whose career was altered by a pitch that struck him in the eye in 1967, and whose life ended in 1990 at the age of 45, days after a massive heart attack. The award goes to the "Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C."
A 21-person committee of media members, Major League Baseball executives, Red Sox officials, fan representatives, and Conigliaro's brothers, Richie and Billy, conducted the voting.
"I think being able to be the recipient of this year's award is nothing short of an honor,'' Bettis said in the press release. "And I feel like the award goes beyond just myself to the help and encouragement of my family and teammates and the entire Colorado Rockies organization.''
Bettis, 28, is the second Rockies player to win the award. Pitcher Aaron Cook was honored in 2005, a year after suffering a blood clot in his lung while pitching in a game.
On Nov. 21, 2016, the first wedding anniversary with his wife, Kristina, Bettis learned that a lump he had discovered was testicular cancer. His wife was pregnant with their first child. Bettis underwent surgery on Nov. 29 and hoped he was clear, but during Spring Training doctors discovered the disease had spread to his lymph nodes and said he would need nine weeks of chemotherapy.
Those procedures began nine days before the March 29 birth of his daughter, Everleigh Rae.
Bettis had the port, which delivered the medicine, placed beneath his left collarbone, which meant his throwing arm wasn't affected. That meant he could continue throwing to stay in shape.
After a lengthy strengthening and rehab period, Bettis was back in the Majors. On Aug. 14, Bettis threw seven scoreless innings, but didn't figure in the decision, in a 3-0 victory over the Braves. He finished 2-4 with a 5.05 ERA.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.