Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year on Thursday night.
The 34-year-old Australian announced in January he’d been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was starting chemotherapy. In April, Hendriks finished treatment and announced he was cancer free.
Hendriks returned to baseball 39 days after announcing he was in remission on May 29.
Hendriks played in five games before being placed on the injured list on June 11. In August, it was revealed he had Tommy John surgery and would miss the rest of the season.
Yet, Hendriks recovering from cancer made him the slam-dunk choice to win the award.
Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year on Thursday night
While accepting the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance in July, Hendriks revealed that he had been pitching for most of the 2022 season with stage-four cancer
‘That was an eye-opener. I didn’t feel too many symptoms, but I had some lumps around,’ Hendriks said over the summer at the ESPYs where he won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
‘It just shows you the power of the mind,’ Hendriks continued. ‘When you don’t think anything’s wrong and you believe that you can do anything, you can do anything.’
Hendriks is a 3-time All-Star and was named the American League Reliever of the Year in 2020 and 2021.
‘I was throwing 100 miles per hour while going through Stage 4 lymphoma and then coming back after doing eight rounds of chemotherapy and four rounds of immunotherapy and was able to get out there and throw 96 miles per hour,’ Hendriks said.
‘That isn’t physically who I am. That’s all this, that’s all mental.’
No date is set for Hendriks to return to baseball, but it is possible he can return to the mound by the end of the 2024 season.