Cleveland Indians fans saw Carlos Carrasco return from a leukemia diagnosis in 2019. It is hard to even begin to describe how special he is as a person.
Carlos Carrasco is a special person both on and off the field. That is known.
He is already the 2019 Roberto Clemente Award winner. Another honor came his way earlier today.
It is easy to be overdramatic when describing sports. Carrasco makes more money than I will ever see in my lifetime and he does so playing a game.
Yet the connection comes with the unique parts of being a sports fan. We hinge our emotions to the play of those wearing our favorite team’s uniforms. We follow their every move and can now even directly reach out to them on social media.
So there are emotions felt by fans when a player goes through a battle. Those usually come on the field. In Carrasco’s case, his battle was with cancer.
The crazy thing about Carrasco’s comeback is that it came so soon. He returned late in the year and I personally preached that he should be eased back into action. I’m sure he fought against that idea and it showed when Terry Francona trusted Cookie in high-leverage situations right away.
That may not have been the best managerial move, but it showed trust in a player who worked so hard to return. He is also Carlos Carrasco, who happens to be a great pitcher.
Comeback Players of the Year usually don’t win the award for a one-year situation. Players may miss a year or do terrible one year, only to rebound the following season. Yet Carrasco’s comeback was condensed into a few months.
I’d argue that a great season from him in 2020 would warrant the award as well, though that won’t happen given he won it this year.
There are occasions when individuals receive unnecessary accolades due to an illness or injury. That is not the case here. He earned this award and the fact he is on schedule to be back to normal in 2020 is wild. It’s not like his leukemia magically went away overnight.
The National League winner was Josh Donaldson, who spent a month with the Indians in 2018. Apparently he was so bad that his solid year in 2019 marked a major comeback. I’m sure some Indians fans will agree with that.