Aussie baseball star Liam Hendricks earns MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award

Aussie baseball star Liam Hendricks earns MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award
29/11/2023
The 34-year-old right-hander earnt the American League honour after pitching in his final contract year for the Chicago White Sox following a non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis in January. Cody Bellinger (Chicago Cubs) received the National League award.

Australian star Liam Hendricks won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Born in 1989 in Perth, Hendricks played in the inaugural Australian Baseball League (ABL) season and represented his country at the 2009 World Baseball Classic (pictured above).

He made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in 2011 for the Minnesota Twins. He appeared in 476 games, including 44 as a starter. He finished 212 games, saving 116. He also played for the Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Oakland A's and Chicago White Sox.

Hendricks won the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award in 2020, his last campaign with the A's. After that season, he signed a three-year contract worth US$54 million with the White Sox. He won the Rivera Award again in 2021 and made consecutive All-Star Game appearances in 2021 and 2022.

In January 2023, he announced he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He returned to the field on 29 May.

After his return to the field, Hendricks launched a campaign inviting fans to purchase specially designed Close Out Cancer t-shirts, with proceeds benefitting the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF); in May, MLB named him the MLB Together Ambassador. In July, he received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at ESPN’s annual ESPY Awards. 

His 2023 season lasted only five games. Hendricks suffered elbow inflammation and underwent season-ending surgery,

Former MVP and Rookie of the Year Award recipient Cody Bellinger was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year after hitting 26 home runs in his first season with the Chicago Cubs.

The Comeback Player of the Year Awards are officially sanctioned by MLB and have been presented annually since 2005 to the one player in each League who has re-emerged on the field during the season. 

The winners were determined following a vote by the 30 club beat reporters from MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball.