Tag Archive | "Awards"

USA Baseball announces 30 Semifinalists for 2011 Golden Spikes Award


Press Release USA Baseball

GoldenSpikesAward.com home to player profiles, fan voting for premier amateur player of the year award

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced Tuesday the names of the 30 semifinalists for the 2011 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (GSA).  This marks the 34th consecutive year that the award has been presented to the nation’s top amateur baseball player.

GoldenSpikesAward.com — powered by MLB.com — will once again be the online home for the award.  The Web site features content devoted exclusively to the GSA, including news, voting history, past winner photo galleries, and photographs and video highlights for the 2011 semifinalists.  Fans can follow online at GoldenSpikesAward.com as the list of 30 players is narrowed to three finalists on Monday, June 6.

For the first time ever, the GSA will be awarded live on MLB Network.  The presentation will begin at 6:00 p.m. ET on MLB Tonight, Friday, July 15.  The three finalists for the award will be at MLB Network’s studios for the presentation, which will feature interviews, video highlights and the announcement of the winner.  Online footage of the event also will be available via GoldenSpikesAward.com and MLB.com.

Trevor Bauer (UCLA), Danny Hultzen (Virginia), Taylor Jungmann (Texas), and Anthony Rendon (Rice) were semifinalists for the 2010 GSA and return to the list for 2011.  Connecticut and Vanderbilt top all schools with two semifinalists each, and in total 28 college and universities are represented on the list.  Among conferences, the SEC leads with five players, while the ACC has four and the Pac-10 and Big East each have three.  Juniors are tops with 22 semifinalists and they are joined by four sophomores and three seniors.  Daniel Alrdich is the only freshman (RS) on the list.

In 2007, USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the most prestigious award in amateur baseball, and it will follow the same model again in 2011.  After working closely with sports information directors and amateur baseball media across the country to determine watch lists and the top-performing athletes, a committee voted to determine the 30 semifinalists.  A ballot featuring the names and accomplishments of the 30 semifinalists will now be sent to a group of nearly 200 voters which will select the three finalists and eventual winner.  Beginning today fans will also be able to vote on the 2011 GSA by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com and selecting their favorite amateur player.

“USA Baseball congratulates each of the 30 student-athletes and their respective baseball programs,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO.  “With the increased exposure we are bringing to the Golden Spikes Award through the MLB Network this year, there is added excitement surrounding the voting process and live presentation.  We wish all of the semifinalists the best of luck.”

A list of the 30 semifinalists is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
Daniel Aldrich, OF, RS-Freshman, College of Charleston, SoCon
Tyler Anderson, LHP, Junior, Oregon, Pac-10
Matt Barnes, RHP, Junior, Connecticut, Big East
Trevor Bauer, RHP, Junior, UCLA, Pac-10
DJ Baxendale, RHP, Sophomore, Arkansas, SEC
C.J. Cron, C/IF, Junior, Utah, Mountain West
Grayson Garvin, LHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Sam Gaviglio, RHP, Junior, Oregon State, Pac-10
Sean Gilmartin, LHP/OF, Junior, Florida State, ACC
Greg Gonzalez, RHP, Senior, Fresno State, WAC
Sonny Gray, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Danny Hultzen, LHP/IF, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Junior, Texas, Big 12
Jason Krizan, OF, Senior, Dallas Baptist, Independent
Jake Lowery, C, Junior, James Madison, CAA
Mikie Mahtook, OF, Junior, Louisiana State, SEC
Brad Miller, IF, Junior, Clemson, ACC
Chris O’Brien, C/IF, Junior, Wichita State, Missouri Valley
Joe Panik, IF, Junior, St. John’s, Big East
Mark Pope, RHP, Junior, Georgia Tech, ACC
Nick Ramirez, IF/LHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Anthony Rendon, IF, Junior, Rice, C-USA
Victor Roache, OF, Sophomore, Georgia Southern, SoCon
Michael Rocha, RHP, Senior, Oklahoma, Big 12
Michael Roth, LHP/IF, Junior, South Carolina, SEC
George Springer, OF, Junior, Connecticut, Big East
Adam Brett Walker, IF/OF, Sophomore, Jacksonville, Atlantic Sun
Kyle Winkler, RHP, Junior, Texas Christian, Mountain West
Mike Zunino, C, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
Chad Zurcher, IF, RS-Junior, Memphis, C-USA

About the Golden Spikes Award
Since 1978, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. Following the first ever presentation of the Award to Bob Horner of Arizona State, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. The 2010 Golden Spikes Award winner was Bryce Harper of Southern Nevada. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Stephen Strasburg (’09), Buster Posey (’08), David Price (’07), Tim Lincecum (’06), Alex Gordon (’05), Jered Weaver (’04), Rickie Weeks (’03), Pat Burrell (‘98), J.D. Drew (’97), Mark Kotsay (’95), and Jason Varitek (’94). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Robin Ventura (’88), Jim Abbott (’87), Will Clark (’85), Dave Magadan (’83), Terry Francona (’80), Tim Wallach (’79), and Bob Horner (’78).  For more information, please visit GoldenSpikesAward.com.

About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).  The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic Team and World Cup Team (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 16U and 14U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.  USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country.  For more information, please visit USABaseball.com and GoldenSpikesAward.com.

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USA: Dave Van Horne named 2011 Ford C. Frick Award Winner for Broadcasting Excellence


COOPERSTOWN, NY – Dave Van Horne, who has spent the last 42 seasons calling play-by-play action for the Montreal Expos and the Florida Marlins, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for excellence in baseball broadcasting.

Van Horne, who will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend, July 22-25, is the first Expos broadcaster to win the Frick Award. He is the second Marlins broadcaster honored, joining Felo Ramirez, a Spanish-language broadcaster, and the second Frick Award winner to have called games for a Canadian team, following Tony Kubek, who broadcast games for the Blue Jays and was honored in 2009.

“Dave Van Horne introduced Major League Baseball to English-speaking fans in Montreal, and his voice became the standard for two generations of Expos fans,” said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. “Since 2001, Dave has energized Marlins fans in South Florida with his infectious love for the game, his excitable play-by-play, and his signature ‘Up, Up and Away’ home run calls. We are thrilled to announce Dave Van Horne as the 2011 Frick Award winner.”

Van Horne, a native of Easton, Pa., began his broadcasting career with the Richmond Braves of the International League, and was twice named the Virginia Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association before joining the Expos for their inaugural season of 1969. He called Expos games on radio and television, describing such memorable moments as the Expos debut on April 8, 1969, Willie Mays’ 3000th hit, Nolan Ryan’s passing Walter Johnson on top of the career strikeout list and Steve Carlton striking out his 4,000th batter. Van Horne also called games for The Baseball Network on ABC and NBC.

Van Horne joined the Marlins in 2001 as the club’s lead radio voice. He broadcast the Marlins’ 2003 World Championship season, adding to a resume that includes three World Series and National League Championship Series broadcasting assignments for Canadian networks. Van Horne also broadcast the last Expos game in Montreal, in 2004, as a member of the visiting Marlins radio broadcast team.

Van Horne has shared the broadcast booth with partners such as Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Ken Singleton, Buck Martinez, Tom Cheek and Tommy Hutton. He was the recipient of the 1996 Jack Graney Award, given by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for contributions to the game through broadcasting.

Van Horne will be honored as an award recipient during Hall of Fame Weekend 2011, July 22-25 in Cooperstown, N.Y, along with 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Bill Conlin, who was announced on Tuesday. Pat Gillick, who was elected on Monday by the Expansion Era Committee, will be inducted on July 24, along with any electees who emerge from 2011 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, to be announced Jan. 5.

The Ford C. Frick Award is voted upon annually and is named in memory of the sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and Baseball commissioner. For a complete list of recipients,click here.

Ten finalists for the 2011 Ford C. Frick Award were selected in October, featuring three fan selections from an online vote conducted at www.facebook.com/baseballhall and seven broadcasters chosen by a research committee from the Cooperstown-based museum. The final ballot contained a mix of pioneers and current-day broadcasters, and was voted upon by a 20-member electorate. Complete biographical information on the 10 finalists can be found here. The 10 finalists: Rene CardenasTom CheekDizzy DeanJacques DoucetBill KingNed MartinTim McCarverGraham McNameeEric Nadel and Van Horne. Cardenas, Doucet, McCarver, Nadel and Van Horne were the living candidates.

In September, Cheek (11,661 votes), King (4,758 votes) and Doucet (2,714 votes) finished as the top three vote-getters in the Museum’s online fan poll for inclusion on the final 10-name ballot.

The 20-member electorate, comprised of the 15 living Frick Award recipients and five broadcast historians/columnists, includes Frick honorees Marty BrennamanJerry ColemanGene ElstonJoe GaragiolaJaime JarrinMilo HamiltonTony KubekDenny Matthews, 2010 Frick Award winner Jon MillerDave Niehaus (who cast his vote before passing away Nov. 10), Felo RamirezVin ScullyLon SimmonsBob Uecker and Bob Wolff, and historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC), Barry Horn(Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of NY Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).

Voters were asked to base their selections on the following criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. This year’s balloting process marked the eighth time fans had the opportunity to be a part of selecting the final ballot for the award, after changes to the voting process implemented by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors to the voting process in 2003.

To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a ball club, network, or a combination of the two. More than 200 broadcasters were eligible for consideration for this year’s award, with bios of each candidate appearing at the Web site.

Courtesy BaseballHall.org

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Greg Frady Named European Coach of the Year


ATLANTA – Georgia State baseball coach Greg Frady, who also heads up the German National Team, was recently announced as the European Baseball Coach of the Year in Cologne, Germany.

Frady received the award for the work he did last year with the German Baseball Organization, while helping to develop the game of baseball. On top of that, Frady led the German National team to a third place finish at the European Championship.

The third place finish marked the best finish ever for the Germans and the first time the country had received a medal in the history of the championships.

Germany opened play with four straight wins, before falling to the defending champions, The Netherlands, to advance to the second stage of three stages.

The Germans only two losses in the championship came to The Netherlands and Italy, who eventually played for the championship title.

Even more special was the fact that the championships were held in Germany, allowing the home fans to enjoy the special occasion.

Frady was named head coach of the team in 2004 and has been building it into an Olympic contender ever since. The team finished second at the World Baseball Challenge last summer, a tournament that included a 6-3 win over the United States. Two years ago, the Germans fell just two games shy of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics.

Frady is currently preparing his Georgia State team for the upcoming 2011 season. Fall practice ended a few weeks ago and the team will return to practice in January. The season opener takes place in Panthersville on Feb. 18 against Texas Southern at 6 p.m.

Courtesy of Georgia State Athletics

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Japan: Nippon Professional Baseball Awards


APAN – Chunichi Dragons slugger Kazuhiro Wada and Softbank Hawks ace Tsuyoshi Wada captured the Most Valuable Player award in the Central League and Pacific League, respectively. The awards are selected by the nation’s baseball writers.

Wada led Chunichi to their first league crown in four years before the Dragons fell to the Lotte Marines in the Japan Series. He batted ,339 with a career-best 37 home runs and 93 RBIs to become the oldest player to win the Central League award. Nankai Hawks slugger Hiromitsu Kadota, who was 40 when he won the MVP trophy in 1988, is the oldest player in Japan baseball to win the award.

Hisayoshi Chono of the Yomiuri Giants was selected as the Central League Rookie of the Year after hitting .288 with 19 homers in his NPB debut.

CENTRAL LEAGUE BEST NINE:
CA – Shinnosuke Abe, Yomiuri Giants
1B – Craig Brazell, Hanshin Tigers
2B – Keiichi Hirano, Hanshin Tigers
SS – Takashi Toritani, Hanshin Tigers
3B – Masahiko Morino, Chunichi Dragons
OF – Kazuhiro Wada, Chunichi Dragons
OF – Matt Murton, Hanshin Tigers
OF – Norichika Aoki, Yakult Swallows
SP – Kenta Maeda, Hiroshima Carp

Softbank’s Wada topped the Pacific League with 17 wins and a 3.13 ERA.

Nippon Ham Fighters Ryo Sakakibara was chosen as the Pacific League Rookie of the Year. The middle reliever had a 2.62 ERA and posted 10 wins out of the bullpen.

PACIFIC LEAGUE BEST NINE:
CA – Motohiro Shima, Rakuten Eagles
1B – Alex Cabrera, Orix Buffaloes
2B – Kensuke Tanaka, Nippon Ham Fighters
SS – Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Lotte Marines
3B – Eiichi Koyano, Nippon Ham Fighters
OF – Hitoshi Tamura, Softbank Hawks
OF – Takahiro Okada, Orix Buffaloes
OF – Takumi Kuriyama, Seibu Lions
DH – Kazuya Fukura, Lotte Marines
SP – Tsuyoshi Wada, Softbank Hawks

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#1 Pick Bryce Harper Helps Scorpions take AFL Title


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The first overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft Bryce Harper helped the Scottsdale Scorpions to the Arizona Fall League Title over the Peoria Javelinas.

The Nationals #1 pick started and hit 7th in the lineup for the Scorpions after spending most of the fall playing only a few times a week on the taxi squad. But Harper (1-for-4) came through with an RBI single to help his team.  With the score tied 1-1 in the 2nd inning, Harper hit the first pitch he saw the other way to left field for an RBI single as the Scorpions took a 2-1 lead.

AFL MVP Dustin Ackley singled and scored the first run for the Javelinas in the top of the 4th to tie the game at 2. Ackley scored on Charlie Culberson’s 2nd error of the game (his first helped the Javelinas score their first run).

The Scorpions bounced back to take the lead for good in the bottom of the 4th. Rockies outfielder Charles Blackmon doubled bringing up Nationals shortstop Steve Lombardozzi who followed with a ringing double off the wall to put Scottsdale up 3-2.

Cord Phelps (Cleveland) went 2-for-5 and Adam Loewen (Toronto) went 3-for-3 to lead the offense for Peoria. Charles Blackmon (Colorado) was the only hitter for Scottsdale with more than one hit going 2-for-2.

Sammy Solis (Washington) picked up the win going 4 innings allowing 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), and 1 walk with 3 strikeouts.  Cole Kimbell (Washington) picked up the save with a perfect 9th. Tom Wilhelmsen (Seattle) took the loss giving up a run in 1 inning of relief.

Dustin Ackley won the MVP after hitting .424 with 4 home runs, 19 RBI, .581 OBP, .758 SLG, and 5 SB in 20 games.

Steve Lombardozzi won the 2010 Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award.  The award is given to the player who best exemplifies unselfishness, hard work and leadership and is named in memory of the late Cincinnati Reds outfielder who was killed during the 2003 Arizona Fall League season.

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Corky Palmer Elected to Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame


Former Southern Miss Baseball Coach Corky Palmer Elected to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

Joining Palmer in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame 2011 induction class is former Southern Miss punter Jerrel Wilson

Aug. 31, 2010

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced today the 2011 induction class which includes former Southern Miss head baseball coach Corky Palmer.

“I am very honored and humbled to be a member of such an elite fraternity of Mississippians,” Palmer said. “I consider this one of the highest honors in my career, right there with being named the head coach at Southern Miss and taking the Golden Eagles to Omaha in 2009. It is truly special to be inducted in your home state’s hall of fame.”

Palmer coached baseball at all levels for 32 years in the state of Mississippi, but is most remembered for turning his Alma Mater at Southern Miss into one of the nation’s elite programs.

In his 12 years at the helm of the Golden Eagles, Palmer amassed a 458-281-1 record while guiding Southern Miss to eight NCAA Regionals, including each of his final seven seasons. It was also Palmer who guided Southern Miss to the 2009 College World Series, one of the most memorable events in the history of Southern Miss athletics.

Joining Palmer in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame 2011 induction class is former Southern Miss punter Jerrel Wilson, who is the only punter in NFL history to led league in punting average four times. In his fourteen-year pro career he played more games in a Kansas City Chiefs/Dallas Texans uniform than any other player in franchise history. He was selected by Pro Football Hall of Fame to All-Time AFL team.

The other members of the induction class includes: Jeff Brantley, Con Maloney, Rita Easterling, and Mike Kinnison.

The six will be enshrined at the 49th annual BancorpSouth Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Weekend on July 29-30, 2011.

Source: USM Release

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Anthony Rendon Wins Dick Howser Trophy


UNITED STATES – Rice sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon is the recipient of the 24th annual Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball’s player of the year. The presentation was made Friday evening in Lubbock, Texas as part of the festivities to recognize and induct the College Baseball Hall of Fame and the awarding of several other national honors for 2010.

Rendon is just the second player in Conference USA history to be named Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons. He picked up that honor again this year while leading the Owls to the regular season league championship and the school’s 16th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. The two-time first team All-CUSA selection was named to the C-USA Championship All-Tournament team and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Austin Regional. The Houston native was also named the Male Athlete of the Year for all sports in Conference USA.

He batted .402 in conference play and finished the season hitting .394 overall. Rendon led Conference USA in home runs with 26 and had more homers than strikeouts (22) all season long. Rendon ranks among the nation’s leaders in runs scored (83) and walks (65) while maintaining a .530 on-base percentage. He had 12 doubles and 85 RBI, while posting an .801 slugging percentage.

Rendon has also been named the 2010 National Player of the Year by Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association.

He won the Howser Trophy over two other outstanding finalists: Miami (Fla.) catcher Yasmani Grandal and Mississippi pitcher Drew Pomeranz.

The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball’s most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser’s life.

A Florida native, Howser was twice an All-America shortstop at Florida State University (1957-58), then coached the Seminoles in 1979 after a career as a major league player and coach. After one year in the college ranks, Howser returned to the majors to manage the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals and won the World Series with the Royals in 1985. The baseball stadium on the Florida State campus is named for Howser.

NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport’s only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.

The College Baseball Foundation was established in 2004 and has inducted 57 greats into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock. The group promotes the highest ideals and recognition of greatness on college baseball diamonds in the 150 years since the first intercollegiate contest in 1859 between Amherst and Williams. The groups also have come together in 2010 to select the Dick Howser Trophy, Brooks Wallace Award (Division I Shortstop of the Year), NCBWA Stopper of the Year, CBF Pitcher of the Year, John Olerud Award (top twoway player) and NCBWA National Coach of the Year. The Pro-Line Athletic/NCBWA All-America and Freshman All-America teams, the NCBWA Freshman Player and Pitcher of the Year also are being presented by these national entities.

The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser’s death. Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, Miami, 1987; Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State, 1988; Scott Bryant, Texas, 1989; Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College South, 1990; Frank Rodriguez, Howard College (Texas), 1991; Brooks Kieschnick, Texas, 1992 and 1993; Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech, 1994; Todd Helton, Tennessee, 1995; Kris Benson, Clemson, 1996; J. D. Drew, Florida State, 1997; Eddy Furniss, LSU, 1998; Jason Jennings, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC, 2001, Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickey Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003; Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon, 3B, Nebraska, 2005; Brad Lincoln, P/DH, Houston, 2006; David Price, P, Vanderbilt, 2007; Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008 and Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009.

Photo courtesy of Rice Athletics

Source: The College Baseball Foundation

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Bryan Holaday Claims Johnny Bench Award


UNITED STATES – TCU senior catcher Bryan Holaday was named the 2010 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award recipient. The award is given to the top catcher in collegiate baseball. Holaday is the 11th player to win the award since its inception in 2000. It is the first major award won by a TCU baseball player in school history.

A first-team all-conference member, Holaday adds to his list of accolades, which also include second-team All-America honors. He is a three-time MWC Hitter of the Week winner and was also named MVP of both the Houston College Classic and the Mountain West Conference Tournament. He earned a spot on the 11-man College World Series all-tournament team.

Holaday was clearly the leader of the team, helping lead the Horned Frogs to their first-ever appearance in the College World Series. He was one of just two Frogs to start all 68 games this season. He hit .355 with a school-record 99 hits. He tallied 72 runs scored and drove in 53. Holaday hit 24 doubles, one triple and 17 home runs.

Defensively, Holaday guided a staff that posted a 3.55 ERA. As a team, the Frogs surrendered just 30 stolen bases in 57 attempts. Holaday threw out 46% of the runners trying to steal and posted a .988 fielding percentage.

He was one of three finalists for the award, joining Miami’s Yasmani Grandal and Coastal Carolina’s Jose Iglesias at the award’s ceremony in Wichita, Kansas.

Previous Winners:
2009 – J.T. Wise, University of Oklahoma
2008 – Buster Posey, Florida State University
2007 – Edward Easley, Mississippi State University
2006 – Jake Smith, East Carolina University
2005 – Jeff Clement, University of Southern California
2004 – Kurt Suzuki, Cal State – Fullerton
2003 – Ryan Garko, Stanford University
2002 – Jeremy Brown, University of Alabama
2001 – Kelly Shoppach, Baylor University
2000 – Brad Cresse, Louisiana State University

Photo courtesy of TCU Athletics

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Daniel Bibona Claims Lowe’s Award


UNITED STATES – Five-time all-American and Big West Conference pitcher of the year Daniel Bibona from the University of California, Irvine, has been selected as the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner for baseball.

The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I baseball coaches, national media and fans, is awarded annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I baseball. The announcement and trophy presentation were made today by Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, during the NCAA College World Series® in Omaha.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete, with criteria including community service, excellence in the classroom, outstanding character and competition on the field.

In addition to his conference pitcher-of-the-year and all-America honors, Bibona owns the UC Irvine record for career strikeouts. His team advanced to NCAA post-season play for the fifth straight time. Bibona is one of 30 semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, recognizing the game’s top player.

Bibona graduated this month with a degree in sociology and a 3.25 grade point average. He was the 2010 Big West Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In addition to being a regular visitor at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and coaching youth baseball, Bibona is a member of a non-profit organization called American Home Dream, which assists children with terminal illnesses.

This marks the fourth year for the baseball division of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The University of Alabama’s Emeel Salem was the inaugural winner in 2007, Rice University’s Cole St. Clair was the recipient in 2008 and the University of Florida’s Brandon McArthur took home the award in 2009.

ABOUT THE AWARD
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: classroom, community, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards that a senior season can bring. Sportscaster Dick Enberg, Honorary Chairman of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of men’s basketball players leaving school early for the NBA. The award program has expanded the past two years to include a total of nine NCAA® Division I sports – football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball and softball in addition to men’s and women’s basketball. The award is sponsored by Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA®, and managed by Premier Sports Management. For more information, visit www.seniorCLASSaward.com.

ABOUT LOWE’S
With fiscal year 2009 sales of $47.2 billion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE® 50 company that serves approximately 15 million customers a week at more than 1,700 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.

ABOUT THE NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletics opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I.

Photo courtesy of UC Irvine Athletics

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2010 Dick Howser Trophy Nominees


UNITED STATES – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, working in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the College Baseball Foundation, has released the list of 25 semifinalists for the 2010 Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top player in collegiate baseball.

The membership of the NCBWA will choose the Dick Howser Trophy based on two rounds of national voting. Three 2010 finalists will be announced just prior to the first game of the College World Series with a press conference slated for Saturday, June 10, at 10 a.m. (CDT) at Rosenblatt Stadium. The winner will be named in a national broadcast from Lubbock, Texas, on Friday, July 2.

The 25 candidates hail from 13 different conferences and 24 different schools. The ACC, Big Ten, Conference USA, Ohio Valley and SEC each led the way with three semifinalists. Nine different positions afield, including five starting pitchers, four first baseman and four third basemen among this diversified group.

The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball’s most prestigious award.

2010 DICK HOWSER TROPHY SEMI-FINALISTS

Daniel Bibona, P, UC Irvine
Zach Cox, 3B, Arkansas
C.J. Cron, DH, Utah
Wes Cunningham, 1B, Murray State
Alex Dickerson, OF, Indiana
Mac Doyle, C, Wofford
Chris Duffy, OF, UCF
Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami (Fla.)
Cole Green, P, Texas (pictured)
Ben Heath, C, Penn State
Danny Hultzen, P, Virginia
Paul Hoilman, 1B, East Tennessee State
A.J. Kirby-Jones, DH, Tennessee Tech
Drew Lee, SS, Morehead State
Joe Leonard, 3B, Pittsburgh
Zack MacPhee, 2B, Arizona State
Mike McGee, UT, Florida State
Anthony Meo, P, Coastal Carolina
Hunter Morris, 1B, Auburn
Drew Pomeranz, P, Mississippi
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
Jordan Ribera, 1B, Fresno State
Chance Ruffin, RP, Texas
Rob Segedin, 3B, Tulane
Alex Wimmers, P, Ohio State

Photo courtesy of Texas Media Relations

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2010 John Olerud Award Watch List


UNITED STATES — The College Baseball Foundation announced today the names of 25 players from across the country featured on the watch list for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.

The Olerud Award, which recognizes a player who makes an impact both on the mound and at the plate, will be presented in Lubbock, Texas, on July 2 as part of the College Baseball Awards Show.

“We’re very excited to present the inaugural Olerud Award this year,” said Randy Norman, Olerud Award committee co-chair. “John Olerud was a great two-way player at Washington State and we look forward to honoring a player who will carry on that legacy.”

Danny Hultzen of the University of Virginia also is on the CBF’s Pitcher of the Year Award watch list. Sam Roberts from Virginia Military Institute also appears on the CBF’s Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award watch list.

Joe Leonard, a third baseman and pitcher at Pittsburgh, has a .455 batting average in a 176 at-bats. He also has 56 RBIs, seven home runs and 19 doubles, along with a 3.60 ERA and six saves.

Mike McGee of Florida State has the lowest ERA on the watch list (0.53 in 17.0 innings pitched). The right-handed outfielder also has a .327 batting average with nine home runs and 41 RBIs.

The SEC leads all conferences in representation on the watch list with four players. Three players from Ohio Valley Conference schools made the list. Cal State Fullerton features two players on the watch list – Tyler Pill and Nick Ramirez.

“A lot of schools don’t even have one two-way player,” Norman said. “For one school to have two players on this list is pretty impressive.”

The College Baseball Awards Show will take place on July 2 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of a nearly weeklong schedule of festivities sponsored by the College Baseball Foundation. The events also include the induction ceremony for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

2010 JOHN OLERUD AWARD WATCH LIST:

Jake Smith, Alabama (SEC)
Brett Eibner, Arkansas (SEC)
Ben Koenigsfeld, Army (Patriot)
Kolbrin Vitek, Ball State (MAC)
Brooks Pinckard (pictured), Baylor (Big 12)
Tyler Pill, Cal State Fullerton (Big West)
Nick Ramirez, Cal State Fullerton (Big West)
Josh Conway, Coastal Carolina (Big South)
Andrew Heck, Duquesne (Atlantic 10)
Bo Reeder, East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun)
Tom Heithoff, Evansville (Missouri Valley)
Mike McGee, Florida State (ACC)
Brian Johnson, Florida (SEC)
Jerrud Sabourin, Indiana (Big 10)
Braden Kapteyn, Kentucky (SEC)
Justin Robichaux, Louisiana Lafayette (Sun Belt)
Justin Guidry, Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt)
Michael Bottoms, Morehead State (OVC)
David Mills, Notre Dame (Big East)
Joe Leonard, Pittsburgh (Big East)
Billy Barber, Richmond (Atlantic 10)
Michael Adamson, Southeast Missouri (OVC)
Chad Oberacker, Tennessee Tech (OVC)
Danny Hultzen, Virginia (ACC)
Sam Roberts, Virginia Military (Big South)

Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

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2010 All-Patriot League Baseball Team


UNITED STATES – The four teams that advanced to the Patriot League Baseball Tournament beginning this weekend also received the individual honors from the League’s coaches on Tuesday, as Bucknell, Army, Holy Cross and Lehigh each garnered one of the four major awards.

Bucknell senior outfielder Andrew Brouse earned Player of the Year honors, while Army senior pitcher Matt Fouch was named the League’s Pitcher of the Year. Holy Cross freshman catcher Stephen Wadsworth is the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, with Lehigh Head Coach Sean Leary as the Coach of the Year.

Bucknell and Holy Cross led all schools with six players on the All-Patriot League Team, while Army, Lehigh and Navy each notched four selections. The Black Knights and Bison, who will square off in a semifinal series this weekend, shared League honors with four players as First-Team picks. Voting for major awards and All-Patriot League honors was conducted by the League’s baseball head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes or themselves.

The 2010 Patriot League Baseball Tournament begins with the semifinal round this weekend. In best-of-three series, No. 4 Bucknell visits No. 1 Army and No. 3 Holy Cross is at No. 2 Lehigh. Each series features a doubleheader on Saturday and decisive third game, if necessary, on Sunday. Every game in the Patriot League Baseball Tournament is scheduled for nine innings. The winners will move on to the Patriot League Baseball Championship series, scheduled for May 22-23 at the site of the highest remaining seed.

First-Team All-Patriot League

SP Matt Fouch (pictured), Army (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
SP Andrew Berger, Lehigh (Sr.)
RP Kevin McKague, Army (Jr.) (unanimous first team)
C B.J. LaRosa, Bucknell (Sr.)
1B Doug Shribman, Bucknell (Jr.)
2B Ben Yoder, Bucknell (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
SS Clint Moore, Army (Jr.)
3B Matt Perry, Holy Cross (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
OF Alex Azor, Navy (So.)
OF Andrew Brouse, Bucknell (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
OF Ben Koenigsfeld, Army (Jr.)
OF Jack Laurendeau, Holy Cross (Jr.)
OF Michael Speciale, Navy (Sr.)
DH Matt Fenster, Lafayette (Jr.)

Second-Team All-Patriot League

SP Nate Koneski, Holy Cross (So.)
SP Ben Nelson, Navy (Fr.)
SP Dylan Seeley, Bucknell (Jr.)
RP Cory Kent, Lehigh (So.)
C Stephen Wadsworth, Holy Cross (Fr.)
1B Kevin Mihalik, Lehigh (Jr.)
2B Matthew Curley, Navy (Sr.)
SS Ben Allen, Bucknell (Sr.)
3B Jim McConlogue, Lehigh (Jr.)
OF Nick Ciardiello, Holy Cross (Jr.)
DH Steve Tkowski, Holy Cross (So.)

Player of the Year
Andrew Brouse, Bucknell, Sr., OF

Pitcher of the Year
Matt Fouch, Army, Sr., SP

Rookie of the Year
Stephen Wadsworth, Holy Cross, Fr., C

Coach of the Year
Sean Leary, Lehigh

Photo courtesy of www.west-point.org

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2010 NCAA Top Pitcher Candidates


UNITED STATES — The College Baseball Foundation announced today the quarterfinalists for the 2010 Pitcher of the Year Award. The list features 25 of the nation’s finest Division I pitchers.

“It’s been really exciting to see the numbers these pitchers have put up all year,” said Justin Knowles, Pitcher of the Year committee co-chair.

The Pitcher of the Year Award will be presented in Lubbock, Texas, on July 2 as part of the College Baseball Awards Show.

The University of Texas features three pitchers among the 25 on the revised watch list. Cole Green is 9-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 69.1 innings pitched. Chance Ruffin has 10 saves, a 1.06 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 25 appearances. Brandon Workman is 8-1 in 10 starts. He also has 65 strikeouts to go with his 1.61 ERA and only 12 walks.

UCLA and Coastal Carolina each have two pitchers on the watch list.

“For some of these schools to have multiple pitchers on the list is really impressive,” Knowles said. “As the regular season wraps up, it will be interesting to see how these pitchers continue to add to their statistics.”

There are 11 different conferences represented on the newest watch list, with the Big 12 and the Pac-10 each having four representatives.

Chris Patterson of Appalachian State has the lowest ERA (0.58) on the list. Asher Wojciechowski of The Citadel has 98 strikeouts, leading the watch list in that category.

The College Baseball Awards Show will take place on July 2 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of a nearly weeklong schedule of festivities sponsored by the College Baseball Foundation. The events also include the induction ceremony for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

2010 Pitcher of the Year Award Candidates:

Chris Patterson, Appalachian State
Kurt Heyer, Arizona
Seth Blair, Arizona State
Drew Smyly, Arkansas
Noe Ramirez, Cal State Fullerton
Asher Wojciechowski, Citadel
Anthony Meo, Coastal Carolina
Cody Wheeler, Coastal Carolina
Matt Barnes, Connecticut
Chris Sale, Florida Gulf Coast
Matty Ott, Louisiana State
Thomas Royse, Louisville
Drew Pomeranz, Mississippi
Matt Harvey, North Carolina
Alex Wimmers, Ohio State
Addison Reed, San Diego State
Blake Cooper, South Carolina
Cole Green, Texas
Chance Ruffin, Texas
Brandon Workman, Texas
John Stilson, Texas A&M
Daniel Bibona, UC Irvine
Trevor Bauer, UCLA
Gerrit Cole, UCLA
Danny Hultzen, Virginia

Photo courtesy of San Diego State Athletics

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Top NCAA Shortstops Eyeing Award


UNITED STATES — The quarterfinalists for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award were released recently by the College Baseball Foundation. The revised list features 25 of the nation’s finest shortstops.

The Wallace Award, sponsored by Mizuno, recognizes the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented on July 2 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of the College Baseball Awards Show.

“These players have recorded some very impressive statistics,” said Kevin Dunagan, Wallace Award co-chair. “They started the season strong and have continued to build on that success.”

The revised watch list features shortstops from 15 conferences, with the ACC, Big 12 and SEC leading the pack with three representatives each.

Ryan Soares of George Mason leads the watch list in batting average (.411). He also has 60 RBIs and a .975 fielding percentage.

Adam Bryan of Troy has the highest fielding percentage at .991 to go along with his .353 batting average, 41 RBIs and 13 homeruns.

The leading home run hitter on the list is Morehead State’s Drew Lee, who has 15 on the season, along with 14 doubles and one triple. He also leads in RBIs, with 62.

“We have a very strong field of candidates for this award again this year,” Dunagan said. “I have no doubt they will continue to put up strong numbers as the season winds down.”

The College Baseball Awards Show will take place on July 2 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of a nearly weeklong schedule of festivities sponsored by the College Baseball Foundation. The events also include the induction ceremony for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award Candidates:

Josh Rutledge, Alabama, SEC
Drew Maggi, Arizona State
Tim Carver, Arkansas
Christian Colon, Cal State Fullerton
Marcus Semien, California
Taylor Motter, Coastal Carolina
Neal Pritchard, Elon
Stephen Wickens, Florida Gulf Coast Atlantic
Ryan Soares, George Mason
Derek Dietrich, Georgia Tech
Carter Jurica, Kansas State
Adam Duvall, Louisville
Austin Nola, Louisiana State
Jonathan Roof, Michigan State
Drew Lee, Morehead State
Ryan Aguayo, New Mexico State
Caleb Bushyhead, Oklahoma
Kenton Parmley, Southeast Missouri State
Justin Boudreaux, Southeastern Louisiana
Brodie Greene, Texas A&M
Adam Bryant, Troy
Tyler Cannon, Virginia
Sam Roberts, Virginia Military
Tim Smalling, Virginia Tech
Jedd Gyorko, West Virginia

Photo courtesy of USA Baseball

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MLB: 2009 Silver Sluggers Winners


UNITED STATES – Louisville Slugger, celebrating 125 years in baseball this season, proudly announced the 2009 Silver Slugger Award winners tonight in a special hour-long telecast on MLB Network. There were many familiar faces among the 18 winners of the top offensive award in Major League Baseball.

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals picked up his fifth Silver Slugger Award as the first baseman in the National League, while Derek Jeter snagged his fourth award in a row at shortstop in the American League. The Phillies’ Chase Utley earned his fourth trophy for second base in the NL.

The Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues in 2009. Selections were based on a combination of offensive statistics including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

Among the teams represented by this year’s winners, the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Dodgers each had two honorees. The Yankees’ Mark Teixeira picked up his third award at first base—he won the 2004 and 2005 Silver Slugger Awards while with the Texas Rangers.

Aaron Hill and Adam Lind of the Toronto Blue Jays are both first-time winners, with Hill picking up the second base honor for the American League and Lind winning the designated hitter award.

The Dodgers are well-represented in the outfield, as Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp both earned Silver Slugger Awards as top hitting outfielders in the National League.The Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez scored his second consecutive award for shortstop in the National League.

Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays is a first-time Silver Slugger honoree, winning the American League’s competition among third basemen. Likewise, the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman won his first Silver Slugger Award for the National League at third base.

Four out of the six outfield selections were first-time Silver Slugger winners—Jason Bay of the Boston Red Sox, Torii Hunter of the Los Angeles Angels, as well as Ethier and Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners picked up his third trophy and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun collected his second straight award.

Past winners dominated the awards at the catcher and pitcher positions. Joe Mauer of the Twins and the Braves’ Brian McCann both collected their third Silver Slugger Awards as catchers, while Carlos Zambrano earned his third trophy as a pitcher.

2009 SILVER SLUGGER WINNERS:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
1B – Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees
2B – Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays
3B – Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
SS – Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
OF – Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
OF – Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox
OF – Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels
C – Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
DH – Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays

NATIONAL LEAGUE
1B – Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
2B – Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
3B – Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
SS – Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
OF – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
OF – Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
OF – Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
C – Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
P – Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs

The specially designed Silver Slugger Award will be presented to each player by a Hillerich & Bradsby Co. representative, makers of Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, in a ceremony early in the 2010 season. The trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winner and his Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league.

The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by Louisville Slugger in 1980 as a natural extension of the Silver Bat Award which is, as its name indicates, a silver-plated bat presented by Louisville Slugger to the batting champions in the AL and NL.

This year’s Silver Bat Award winners are Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins and Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins. Mauer hit .365 for the Twins to claim the AL honor. Ramirez won the NL batting title with a .342 average.

Both will receive their Silver Bat Awards in on-field presentations early in the 2010 season.

Source: Louisville Slugger

Photo courtesy of www.slugger.com

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Tim Lincecum Wins 2009 Cy Young Award


UNITED STATES – Former Fresno Grizzlies ace Tim Lincecum has won the National League Cy Young Award for the second year in a row, Major League Baseball announced this afternoon. The Giants right-hander earned the honor, representative of the league’s best pitcher, in a close vote conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

In just his second full Major League season, Lincecum added to his already impressive pitching legend despite winning fewer games this year than in 2008. The 25 year old notched a 15-7 record for the Grizzlies’ parent club, posting a 2.48 ERA and leading the league with 261 strikeouts. He became the first Giant to lead the league in strikeouts for consecutive seasons since Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson (1907-1908).

Lincecum is regarded as the greatest talent in Fresno Grizzlies franchise history. In 2007- his first full season of professional baseball- the right-hander opened the year in Fresno and lasted just five outings in the Pacific Coast League. In those five trips to the mound, he allowed only one run on 12 hits in 31.0 innings, striking out a remarkable 46 batters. In the only outing in which he allowed a run, Lincecum held the Tucson Sidewinders hitless for 6.1 innings at Chukchansi Park.

The Bellevue, WA native becomes only the 8th pitcher in history to capture consecutive Cy Young awards, joining Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Jim Palmer, Denny McClain, and Sandy Koufax. Lincecum’s second Cy Young is the San Francisco Giants’ third as an organization, as Mike McCormick claimed the honor in 1967.

The Fresno Grizzlies return to Chukchansi Park on Friday, April 16 for their home opener of the 2010 season. For information regarding 2010 season ticket, mini plan, and group packages, or the popular internet mini-series “I Hate The OffSeason”, visit FresnoGrizzlies.com , or follow the team at Twitter.com/FresnoGrizzlies and Facebook.com/FresnoGrizzlies.

Source: Fresno Grizzlies

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Cuba: Despaigne, Martinez Earn Weekly Honors


CUBA – Granma’s outfielder Alfredo Despaigne became the second selection for Player of the Week during the 49 National Series.

In six games, Despaigne led the Cuban League with a .478 (11-for-23) batting average, 26 total bases and three doubles while also contributing four home runs and 10 RBIs to the Stallions.

The 24-year-old also had a League-best 1.130 slugging percentage in addition to a 1.186 on-base percentage. The Cuban National Team right fielder compiled eight runs while received three walks and two strikeouts.

On Sunday, Despaigne hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning en route to a 6-4 Stallions win over the Camaguey Potters at Mártires de Barbados field. The home run marked his 106th with Granma in five National Series.

Followed closely by: Yunier Mendoza (Sancti Spíritus) tying with Despaigne during the week in RBIs (10), Runs (8) and Hits (11).

Cowboys ace Jonder Martínez (pictured) was named 49 National Series Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday for the period ending November 15.

Jonder, who was also part of the Cuban staff during the 38 Baseball World Cup, won his only starts last week against the Industriales Lions, allowing three hits and no runs in an 82-pitch shutout.

Followed closely by: Pedro L. Lazo (Pinar del Río) who also had one win against Industriales while pitched a total of 16 innings allowing only three earned runs. His ERA was 1.69. Also Cowboys’ righthander Yadier Pedroso had a great performance strucking 13 during his starts against Industriales and Matanzas but he lost both games.

Ray Otero can be reached at: elistas@baseballdecuba.com

Visit BaseballdeCuba for Cuban League news, stats, photos and videos.

Photo courtesy of J.Semana/BaseballdeCuba.com

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Darvish, Ramirez Win NPB Top Awards


JAPAN – Former Major Leaguer Alex Ramirez and Nippon Ham staff ace Yu Darvish (pictured) were named Most Valuable Player of Japan’s Central and Pacific Leagues, respectively. The Yomiuri outfielder became the first back-to-back winner in the Central League since home run king Sadaharu Oh achieved the feat in 1976 and 1977.

The Venezuelan slugger batted .322 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs to help lead the Giants to their first Japan Series title in seven years.

The 35-year-old, who has played in Japan for the past nine seasons, previously saw action in the major leagues for the Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Darvish missed the final three weeks of the 2009 season but still posted a 15-5 record with a league-best 1.73 ERA and 167 strikeouts.

The 23-year-old, who claimed his second Pacific League MVP award in three seasons, was shut down during the latter part of the season due to shoulder and back problems. However, he made a surprise start in Game 2 of the Japan Series and beat Yomiuri despite pitching with a broken finger.

Photo courtesy of marinersd.blogspot.com

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Zack Greinke Wins AL Cy Young Award


UNITED STATES – Kansas City Royals right-hander Zack Greinke today was named the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The 26-year old’s Cy Young season is the fourth in Royals history and he becomes the third pitcher to win the award, joining two-time winner Bret Saberhagen (1985, 1989) and David Cone (1994).

Greinke was named first on 25 ballots and second on three ballots of the 28 ballots cast by two writers in each A.L. city. He received a total of 134 points. The Mariners’ Felix Hernandez was the runner-up, with 80 points and two first place votes. The Tigers’ Justin Verlander picked up the other first place votes while the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia and the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay also received votes.

The Florida native posted arguably the greatest season in Royals history, going 16-8 with a Major League-leading 2.16 ERA. It was the lowest ERA in the junior circuit since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 ERA for Boston in 2000. Greinke also paced the A.L. in opponents’ on-base percentage (.276), baserunners per nine innings (9.81) and fewest home runs per nine innings (0.43). He finished second in several other categories including strikeouts, posting 242, second-most in Kansas City Royals history.

Greinke was also named today as the 2009 Bruce Rice award winner as Kansas City’s Pitcher of the Year. It was his second such award after taking home the honor in 2004. In that season – his third as a professional – Greinke opened the year with the Omaha Royals, going 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA. He needed just six Triple-A starts before making his Major League debut at 20 years old. He wound up going 8-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 24 big league starts, joining Dennis Leonard (1975) as just the second rookie to be chosen as the Bruce Rice Royals Pitcher of the Year.

In 2006, a bout with social anxiety disorder cost Greinke most of the Major League season and threatened his baseball career. However, he recovered to post sub-3.70 ERA’s the past two years before capping his outstanding 2009 campaign with today’s awards.

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Peers Tab Albert Pujols As MLB Top Player


UNITED STATES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols captured his second Players Choice Awards in as many days on Friday when the first baseman was named Player of the Year in a vote by the MLB Players Association. Pujols was also honored a day earlier by his peers as the Outstanding Player in the National League.

Pujols, the favorite to be named the National League’s Most Valuable Player, led the big leagues with 47 home runs this past season. He batted .327 with 45 doubles, 135 RBIs, 124 runs scored and a .658 slugging percentages.

Players Choice Awards, voted on by all MLB players, annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards are awarded to one player.

The 2009 PLAYERS CHOICE AWARDS RECIPIENTS:

AMERICAN LEAGUE:
• Outstanding Rookie: Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox)
• Comeback Player: Aaron Hill (Toronto)
• Outstanding Pitcher: Zack Greinke (Kansas City)
• Outstanding Player: Joe Mauer (Minnesota)

NATIONAL LEAGUE:
• Outstanding Rookie: J.A. Happ (Philadelphia)
• Comeback Player: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis)
• Outstanding Pitcher: Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
• Outstanding Player: Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:
• Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson (Detroit)
• Player of Year: Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

Players Choice Awards winners will recommend the charities of their choice to receive grants from the Major League Baseball Players Trust totaling $260,000. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.5 million to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

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Granderson Wins Man Of The Year Award


UNITED STATES – Detroit Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson was named the recipient of the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year award.

Granderson started the Grand Kids Foundation in 2008 to provide more education and youth baseball opportunities to inner-city kids. He has also developed a children’s book and is a member of the Action Team national youth volunteer program.

Granderson – in his fourth full season in the majors – earned his first trip to the All-Star game in 2009. The 28-year-old set career-highs with 30 home runs and 71 RBIs in 160 games.

The award is named for the founding executive director of the MLB Players Association and is given to the player “whose on-field and off-field performance most inspires others to higher levels of achievement by displaying as much passion to give back to others as he shows between the lines on the baseball diamond.”

The 2009 PLAYERS CHOICE AWARDS RECIPIENTS:

AMERICAN LEAGUE:
• Outstanding Rookie: Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox)
• Comeback Player: Aaron Hill (Toronto)
• Outstanding Pitcher: Zack Greinke (Kansas City)
• Outstanding Player: Joe Mauer (Minnesota)

NATIONAL LEAGUE:
• Outstanding Rookie: J.A. Happ (Philadelphia)
• Comeback Player: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis)
• Outstanding Pitcher: Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
• Outstanding Player: Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:
• Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson (Detroit)
• Player of Year: Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

The Major League Baseball Players Trust will donate $50,000 to the charity of Granderson’s choice in his honor. The Players Choice Awards, which have been awarded annually since 1992, are unique because the electorate consists of the players themselves.

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Derek Jeter Wins Roberto Clemente Award


UNITED STATES – New York Yankees captain and shortstop Derek Jeter has been named the recipient of the 2009 Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a major league player who combines community service with excellence on the field.

Jeter was presented the award by commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, Roberto’s widow, before the Yankees played the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night.

Jeter started his Turn 2 Foundation in 1996, the year he won Rookie of the Year honors. The foundation supports programs that help young people turn away from drugs and alcohol and choose a healthier lifestyle.

According to the foundation’s Web site, Turn 2 has given more than $10 million in grants to programs in New York City, West Michigan and Tampa, Fla.

The 35-year-old has also won a World Series MVP, All-Star Game MVP, is a 10-time All-Star and is playing for his fifth World Series title. This year he surged ahead of Lou Gehrig as the all-time hits leader for the Yankees, and needed prompting from his parents to enjoy the distinction.

“Obviously we’re very excited we’re in the World Series, but it’s nice to get an opportunity to focus on something that really has to do with something more than baseball. It has to do with community work and giving back to the community,” Jeter said. “People in our position, they should take advantage of it. They should try to give back as much as possible.”

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Greinke, Wainwright Win Players Choice Award


UNITED STATES – The Major League Baseball Players Association announced on ESPN radio earlier this week that Kansas City Royals staff ace Zack Greinke and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals have been named the 2009 winners of the Players Choice Awards for Most Outstanding Pitcher.

Greinke (pictured) compiled a 16-8 record with 242 strikeouts (2nd) and a MLB-best 2.16 ERA. He also won 25 percent of the Royals 65 victories.

The 26-year-old, who tossed six complete games this season, has posted a 29-18 mark over the past two years.

Wainwright topped the National League with a 19-8 record wins while racking up 233 innings in 34 starts.

The 29-year-old also finished strong going 9-3 with a 2.10 ERA after the All-Star break.

Players Choice Awards are given annually to the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league.

Each 2009 Players Choice Award winner will recommend the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.5 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

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Aaron Hill Named Comeback Player Of The Year


CANADA – Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill has been named the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year on Tuesday as part of the 2009 Players Choice Awards. Hill claimed the same honor in voting by MLB.com reporters earlier this month.

Hill, who was limited to only 55 games in 2008 after being sidelined with a serious concussion, was one of three finalists for the Players Choice honor, along with Scott Podsednik of the White Sox and Russell Branyan of the Mariners.

He rebounded this past season and finished with a .286 average, 36 home runs, 37 doubles and 108 RBIs in 158 games. Hill also had 195 hits, scored 103 runs and tallied 340 total bases along the way. Among Major League second basemen, he ranked first in home runs, RBIs, total bases and at-bats (682).

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September.

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