Sports Spectrum Weekly

Liam Hendriks making positive impact, remains grateful as he joins Chicago White Sox

Liam Hendricks, the 2020 American League Reliever of the Year, is moving to Chicago’s South Side. One of the most effective relief arms in the majors over the past two seasons, the 31-year-old Hendriks has reached a three-year deal with the White Sox, with a club option for a fourth year.

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One of three Australian-born players to play in an MLB All-Star Game, Hendriks showcased dominating performances in his role for the Oakland A’s in 2020. He finished the regular season with a 1.78 ERA, a career-best 12.3 strikeout-walk ratio, and an MLB-second-best 14 saves in 15 opportunities. In the postseason, he recorded a win, a save and a 3.18 ERA in 5.2 innings pitched.

Last year, Hendricks spoke highly of the White Sox roster after the A’s eliminated Chicago from the postseason.

“Hats off to the White Sox. They’re a fantastic team,” Hendricks said in October. “They’ve got a great lineup, and they’re going to be a powerhouse in the AL Central for several years just based on these young guys they’ve got in their lineup and the rotation behind [Lucas] Giolito and [Dallas] Keuchel. It’s going to be really fun to watch those guys play for a long time.”

After his new agreement, Hendricks will now have greater insight into Chicago’s growth and talent in the AL Central.

It’s been an impressive career for Hendriks, who broke into the big leagues as a starter but has transitioned into a reliever. He started a career-high 16 games for Minnesota in 2012, but by 2015 with Toronto, he was a full-time reliever. He joined the A’s in 2016 and appeared in a then-career-high 70 games in 2017. In 2019, his All-Star season, he went 4-4 with a 1.80 ERA and 25 saves over a career-high 75 appearances. He earned a spot on the All-MLB second team after that season, and was named to the All-MLB first team for 2020.

And not only has Hendriks been effective on the bump, but off the field his goal is to make an impact as well.

“I am in a position where I can affect people in a positive or negative way, and I want it to be positive,” Hendriks told ESPN in September.

In 2020, Hendriks and his wife, Kristi, donated money to help people affected by the wildfires in Australia. The couple donated meals to 100 Oakland Police Department workers as well as officers in the nearby Alameda department and several fire stations. Liam also filmed a message of thanks for essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis:

Hendricks, a two-time guest of the Sports Spectrum Podcast, says his heart for giving back is rooted in faith and his relationship with Christ.

“You look at all the references through the Bible of Jesus giving back,” Hendriks said on the podcast in 2019. “Giving what you can, doing what you can, [is important]. Not too many people have a similar platform as athletes … I’m going to use my platform, I’m going to make sure people know they can use theirs. I want to be known … not only for what I do on the field, but what I do off the field and do in people’s lives.”

Hendriks is grateful for the position he’s in, and says as much when he often writes “#grateful” on his social media platforms.

 

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A post shared by Liam Hendriks (@hendriks_31)

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