Taking the mound is a little more involved for Marlins reliever Dustin McGowan than it is for other pitchers. McGowan, a diabetic, must pitch with an insulin pump attached.
By overcoming that obstacle and in recognition of his work with other diabetics in the community, McGowan has been named this year’s recipient of the prestigious Hutch Award, a national honor given to a Major League player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of the legendary baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson.
Hutchinson died in 1965 at the age of 45. Past winners of the award include Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Andre Dawson, Lou Brock and Willie Stargell. McGowan is the first Marlins player to receive the honor.
McGowan has volunteered his time locally with the Diabetic Research Institute and spoke to the group last summer.
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“I hope I can show them, by playing at the highest level of a major sport, that I can with diabetes,” McGowan said in a Miami Herald article. “If I can do it, anybody can do it. I've talked to people in the past that didn't think they could play sports anymore because they have diabetes. I just hope to show them that you can.”
McGowan, 34, hails from the one-stoplight town of Ludowici, Ga., which is perhaps best known for having been one of the most notorious speed traps in the nation. A veteran of nine big-league seasons, McGowan served in the Marlins bullpen last year, making 55 relief appearances and going 1-3 with a 2.82 ERA. The Marlins re-signed him this offseason.
McGowan will be presented the award on Jan. 25 at a luncheon on Safeco Field in Seattle, with all funds raised from the event dedicated to advancing cancer research.