San Francisco Giants Pitcher Barry Zito is the winner of the 2013 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, sponsored by the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. The award is presented annually by Phi Delta Theta to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the giving character of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, a member of the Fraternity's Columbia University chapter.
The award was first presented in 1955 and is permanently maintained at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. A team of representatives from the Phi Delta Theta will present the award to Zito at AT&T Park on Tuesday, August 6, prior to the Giants versus Milwaukee Brewers game at 7:15 PM.
Zito is a three-time All-Star, the 2002 winner of the American League Cy Young Award and two-time World Series Champion. During the Giants 2012 World Series Championship season, the Giants were victorious in Zito's last 14 starts -- 11 in the regular season and three in the postseason. He went 7-0 with a 3.92 ERA in that regular-season stretch to finish with a 15-8 record and a 4.15 ERA.
Off the field, Zito founded Strikeouts For Troops to provide the comforts of home to war-wounded troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. He regularly visits with the troops and their families, either at the ballpark or in the hospital, while they are recovering and rehabilitating. He also supports many other non-profits working with our military service members including Welcome Back Veterans, Fisher House Foundation, Operation Care and Comfort and NCIRE. In 2008, he was honored by the Disabled American Veterans for his work with the military. In that same year, he also inaugurated the Barry Zito Giants Field in Stockton, California that benefits the Stockton Junior Giants League, serving more than 1,000 children. In 2006 he received the Sporting News "Good Guy" Award and was the recipient of Dave Stewart's Community Service Award while a member of the Oakland Athletics.
Zito and his wife, Amber, support the St. Anthony Foundation, which provides thousands of meals daily to San Francisco's hungry and homeless. They've been instrumental in assisting the foundation's efforts to rebuild its dining room. Other organizations the Zitos are involved with include the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, global illiteracy, organ donation and cancer research. On January 30, 2013, Zito received the prestigious Hutch Award.
Zito is only the second member of the Giants franchise to win the Gehrig Award. The first Giant to win the award was also the first-ever winner of the award in 1955, Alvin Dark, who is also a member of Phi Delta Theta from its chapter at Louisiana State University. He won the award when the franchise was located in New York. For detailed information about the history of the award go to www.LouGehrigAward.org.