Sanchez wins Tony C Award for overcoming adversity

Updated: December 6, 2006, 6:17 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Freddy Sanchez, who reached the major leagues despite childhood foot problems and a diagnosis that he might never walk, won the 17th Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through spirit, determination and courage.

Freddy Sanchez

The award, which will be presented at the Boston Baseball Writers' Association dinner on Jan. 11, is named for the promising Red Sox player whose career was damaged when he was hit in the face by a pitch in 1967.

Sanchez was born with a club right foot and a severely pigeon-toed left foot. He needed surgery at 13 months, followed by years of therapy to be able to walk and run and become a ballplayer.

In his second full season, Sanchez led the NL with a .344 average this year.

Sanchez received 23 points in the voting to edge Boston's Gabe Kapler, who had 22 points, and San Diego's Doug Brocail, who had 19.

Past winners include Jim Eisenreich, Jim Abbott, Bo Jackson, Eric Davis, Bret Saberhagen and last year's honoree, Aaron Cook.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press