Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis is the winner of MLB’s 2017 Tony Conigliaro award for the “Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.”
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 player 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, just days after a massive heart attack.
"To be the recipient of this year's award is nothing short of an honor.” pic.twitter.com/zARWyOrnBl
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) December 7, 2017
In 2017, Bettis endured the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, starting with a diagnosis of testicular cancer.
On Nov. 21, 2016, Bettis and his wife Kristina were celebrating their first wedding anniversary when Chad learned that a lump he had was cancer. Bettis underwent surgery on November 29, 2016 and was thought to have been cancer free. But as he was preparing for for the season at Spring Training 2017, doctors discovered that the disease had spread to his lymph nodes. Bettis would have to undergo nine weeks of chemotherapy.
On March 29, Kristina gave birth to daughter, Everleigh Rae.
After becoming a Dad and then completing chemotherapy, Bettis set his sights on returning to the mound.
After a lengthy rehab period that saw him in Hartford pitching for the Rockies’ AA minor league affiliate, Bettis returned to the Major Leagues on August 14, where he threw seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory over the Braves.
Bettis, a follower of Christ, told 9News in Denver about how his faith played a role in his comeback from cancer.
“When I found out that I had cancer, it seemed like that verse (Romans 8:18) was really meant for me.”
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18