Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis has been chosen as the winner of the 2017 Tony Conigliaro Award, presented to the Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage, the team announced Wednesday.
One of the most underappreciated awards in sports goes to a deserving candidate that had to battle back from a tumultuous season in one of the best stories of the year.
Bettis, 28, was diagnosed with testicular cancer weeks after the 2016 season had come to a close. With a return to the mound for spring training on the horizon, the Lubbock, Texas native found out in March that his cancer had spread, meaning another go-round of chemotherapy.
Following a lengthy hiatus from the mound, Bettis made an emotional debut in mid-August at home against the Atlanta Braves. In fitting fashion that couldn’t be scripted, the righty tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering six hits with two strikeouts as the Rockies went on to win, 3-0.
The baseball community was also in on the return of Bettis, with MLB Twitter accounts aplenty celebrating the pitcher’s debut at Coors Field.
Bettis wound up making nine starts this past season, going 2-4 with a 5.05 ERA, 1.360 WHIP and 0.7 WAR over the course of 46.1 innings. He has been with the organization ever since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 cycle out of Texas Tech.
Though the Rockies were unable to claw their way out of the Wild Card Game, this award in particular more than likely hits home for Bettis and the organization.