Baseball community comes together to play in honor of player lost to cancer

Jun 9, 2023, 11:19 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2023, 12:03 am

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — This weekend in South Jordan, there is a bigger reason dozens of baseball players are returning to the diamond and lacing their cleats to take the field. The baseball community is coming together to play in memory of one of their own.

Nick Whatcott, Nixon’s dad, said his son loved to play sports.

“Nixon absolutely loved baseball,” he said.

“We started this in honor of our boy, Nixon, who had osteosarcoma cancer.”

Diagnosed with cancer in 2018, he went up to bat against it for 18 months. He always swung for the fences.

“He still played baseball. In fact, he had to get a prosthesis leg, and he still went out and played baseball. It was awesome, and he was running around on the baseball fields even when he had been going through chemo.”

In June 2019, his playing days on earth ended.

In 2020, as a way to remember what he loved in life and give back to others on cancer journeys, the Nixon Strong Foundation, along with others in the baseball community, began a tournament. This year, over 60 teams are registered.

“He’s nine years old and he plays second base, center field,” Amber Lintz said.

Lintz’s son is playing baseball in the tournament this weekend. Playing year round, she said this is one tournament they do not ever want to miss.

“As a baseball community, we want our money to go to something bigger than just the regular tournaments, so I feel like we want to do this one every year,” Lintz said.

Nixon’s family said all the proceeds go back to kids battling cancer and their families. Some ways they have helped others include wish trips, service dogs, and financial support. For the love of the game, those playing this weekend are playing Nixon Strong.

“My wife and I both can always say after you’ve gone through something like this, to be able to like understand what those families are dealing with and at least be able to help them in some small way.” Whatcott said.

Games run though Saturday. To learn more about the Nixon Strong Foundation, you can visit its website here. 

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Baseball community comes together to play in honor of player lost to cancer