In 2012, the Chicago Cubs started their World Series blueprint by trading for a left-handed first baseman. A man who has grown into a household name and superstar right before our very eyes.
For Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, his journey began when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in April of 2008. A dark time in his life right around the same time his Grandmother was battling cancer as well.
After spending some time going through treatment, Rizzo was cleared and returned to baseball, tearing his way to the majors. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2007, later making his debut with the San Diego Padres.
And then finally, the Cubs pulled the trigger by acquiring him for Andrew Cashner, making Rizzo the original puzzle piece. A piece that would help build the Cubs into a World Series champion — flash to 2016, mission complete.
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Anthony has been through it all with this club. Sitting at the bottom of the National League Central, watching other teams live their dreams by winning it all. With some additional moves by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, his time had arrived.
In 2016, Rizzo was named a three-time All-Star alongside a handful of other members of the North Siders. The Cubs crushed it when it came to All-Star voting.
For the first time in Cubs history, Rizzo ended the year with 40 triples and 30 plus home runs in the same year. Something that clearly, no one has ever done while wearing this uniform. How impressive is that?
Not to mention, he earned three regular season awards despite missing out on National League MVP. He took home his first Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and Platinum Glove award. His defense was solid, yet again, making multiple highlights including another tarp grab that was nearly in the same spot as his 2015 play.
Come postseason time, Rizzo’s bat had cooled off. Anthony struggled to tally a hit over the course of the first three NLDS games against the San Francisco Giants. His first came in Game 4.
Chicago’s left-handed slugger ended October with only 14 hits, five doubles, two homers, seven RBI, and 12 strikeouts while hitting .246/.338/.439.
Once November rolled around, the first and final two days of the baseball season were kind to Rizzo. In Game 6, he ended the night 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. Rizzo shared a moment with Ben Zobrist who had just doubled in Albert Almora Jr. for the go-ahead run.
Anthony stood on third base with his hands on his head, jaw practically to his chest, staring at a leaping Zobrist. It wasn’t long until he and Zobrist were mobbing on Progressive Field, celebrating a World Series title.
Although Anthony missed out on the MVP to teammate and best friend, Kris Bryant, he will win a few in his career. It’ll be a battle between the two but sooner or later, Rizzo is going to overpower Kris when it comes to this specific award category.