Major League Baseball has announced the recipients of the 2023 American League and National League Comeback Player of the Year Awards. Right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks and outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger have been awarded this honor, a testament to their significant improvements following periods of adversity.
Triumph over Adversity
For Liam Hendriks, his journey to the award was marked by a formidable battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Diagnosed in January, he underwent treatment and made a triumphant return to the field on May 29th. Despite pitching in only five big-league games this past season with the Chicago White Sox, his resilience in the face of such health struggles made him a clear choice for the award.
Bellinger's Stellar Comeback
Cody Bellinger, on the other hand, celebrated a remarkable comeback with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .307 with 26 homers, 97 RBI, 29 doubles, 153 hits, and 95 runs scored—an impressive performance that mirrored his 2019 NL MVP Award-winning season. Bellinger's resurgence followed his move to the Chicago Cubs, where he signed a $17.5-million, one-year deal as a free agent.
Significance of the Award
The MLB Comeback Player of the Year award is given to players who have re-established themselves as major league contributors following a period of adversity. This could take the form of poor performance or injury. The award is a nod to the players' hard work, determination, and resilience in overcoming challenges and returning to form as impactful players in Major League Baseball.
In conclusion, both Hendriks and Bellinger have demonstrated remarkable strength and determination in their respective journeys. Their performances this season have been nothing short of inspiring, showing the world that setbacks can indeed set the stage for a major comeback.