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Chloe Grimes will present her baseball hero, Brett Phillips, with a Musial Award, named for Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial, on Nov. 19.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A friendship of kindness and compassion will be honored in November at the Musial Awards in downtown St. Louis.

The Musial Awards, named for Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial, shine a light on sportsmanship, generosity and humanity through athletics. 

And this year, 9-year-old Chloe Grimes will give a Musial to her friend and one-time World Series hero, Brett Phillips.

We traveled to Memphis to learn more about this unexpected friendship.

Last September, at AutoZone Park in Memphis, there was a player who seemed out of his league.

Outfielder Brett Phillips once had the game winning hit in the World Series. But even as he now toils in the upside down, the triple-A minors, you’ll never hear him to complain.

“You know, I just feel so blessed each and every day to be able to do what I’ve been able to do,” he said with a smile.

And besides, on this particular September day, he had a very special guest. 9-year-old Chloe Grimes traveled all the way from St. Petersburg, Florida, to see him.

Chloe’s quite a ball player in her own right. She may be little, but she swings big.

“I just look at my bat and then I look at all the marks on it that I made when I hit the ball far,” she said.

She can hit, she can throw, and she would much rather run the bases than have doctors run any more tests.

“She’s got a really, really rare type of cancer,” her dad, Joey Grimes, said. “It’s called Pleuropulmonary Blastoma. There’s less than 20 cases reported worldwide a year.”

She’s been fighting that cancer, on and off, since she was two. Which is why her friends and family call her Princess Warrior.

“What gives you that strength?” we asked. “I just believe in it myself and I think I can do it,” she said. 

That spirit is why the Tampa Bay Rays, earlier this season, invited Chloe to throw out the first pitch to her favorite player.

Brett Phillips Walk-Off Hit won game 4 of the 2020 World Series against the Dodgers, and Chloe loved the way Phillips celebrated.

“He was like sideways and his hair was like out like crazy,” Chloe said, laughing.

But when they met that day at the Rays game, Chloe quickly became Brett’s favorite.

“I thought I was talking to the wrong person. You know, this is someone who’s battling cancer and she’s shown up with good energy. It just changed my perspective,” Phillips said. 

Chloe even brought Brett a gift. A bracelet with the slogan “Rally for Chloe Our Princess Warrior,” which he wore during the game for good luck.

And then on the game broadcast, while Chole and her mom were being interviewed, a night to remember had a moment that no one there will ever forget.

Brett Phillips hit a towering homerun.

“It was the hardest ball I’ve hit in my career,” he said.

But this wasn’t just a great moment in life, the two have become friends for life.

When Chloe had her most recent cancer surgery, Brett was at her bedside.

“I think there was a time period where he had four Thursdays off in about a two-month span, and when he was with the Rays he spent every one of those Thursdays being with her,” said Joey Grimes.

Phillips has since been traded and sent to the minors but his and Chloe’s bond is now unbreakable. They even designed a baseball glove together.

“It says princess warrior on it,” Chloe said.

“And I have the same exact glove,” Phillips added.

They’ve each found magic in a mindset. When everything isn’t the best, make the best of everything.

“This year has been the hardest year statistically for myself, I have been very bad at baseball,” Phillips said. “But every day I wake up, I look down at this bracelet and regardless of what I’m going through in my circumstances, you have a girl who’s nine years old battling cancer for the second time in her life,” he said. 

“She shows up every day with love and energy in how she treats people. There’s no reason that I can’t continue playing baseball and going through my struggles without a smile on my face.”

A professional ballplayer goes to bat for a young girl with cancer and becomes part of a winning team.

The Musial Awards take place Nov.19 at Stifel Theatre in downtown St. Louis. Click here to learn more about the Musial Awards.

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