May 18, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bo Carter
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35 standouts up for college baseball's top honor Bookmark and Share

Dick Howser TrophyDALLAS (NCBWA) – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has released the list of semifinalists for the 2012 Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations. The award, given to the top player in collegiate baseball, is based on two rounds of national voting.

This is the 26th year of the Dick Howser Trophy presented by Easton Foundations. The award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the second year. The award will be presented on Friday, June 15 at 11 a.m. CT, the opening day of the 2012 CWS.

The candidates hail from 17 different conferences and 32 different schools. The Big 12 leads the way with six semifinalists, followed by the Southeastern Conference with five, ACC with three and the Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, Southland, Southern and West Coast Conferences with two. Every position on the diamond but shortstop is represented, including 10 starting pitchers, five outfielders, four catchers, second basemen and relief pitchers, three first basemen, two third basemen and utility players and one designated hitter, among this diversified group.

P Mark Appel, Stanford RP Chris O’Grady, George Mason
RP Robert Benincasa, Florida State 3B D.J. Petersen, New Mexico
OF Sean Bignall, Arkansas-Little Rock P Nick Petree, Missouri State
P Trent Blank, Baylor C Kevin Plawecki, Purdue
2B Austin Elkins, Dallas Baptist OF Danny Poma, Hofstra
1B Goose Kallunki, Utah Valley OF James Ramsey, Florida State
OF Marty Gantt, College of Charleston P Matt Reckling, Rice
UT Marco Gonzales, Gonzaga P Carlos Rodon, N.C. State
P Andrew Heaney, Oklahoma State P Chris Rowley, Army
2B Brock Hebert, Southeastern Louisiana OF Raph Rhymes, LSU
1B D.J. Hicks, UCF 1B Zach Stephens, Tennessee Tech
DH Daniel Kassouf, Appalachian State P Chris Stratton, Mississippi State
RP Stefan Lopez, Southeastern Louisana P Ross Stripling, Texas A&M
UT Michael Lorenzen, Cal State Fullerton P Michael Wacha, Texas A&M
C Josh Ludy, Baylor RP Michael Wagner, San Diego
C Luke Maile, Kentucky 2B Alex Yarbrough, Ole Miss
2B Jamodrick McGruder, Texas Tech C Mike Zunino, Florida
3B Trenton Moses, Southeast Missouri  

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 of 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 (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.

"The Dick Howser Trophy was founded shortly after his death by a few friends of Dick’s in the St. Petersburg Area that played, coached and worked with him," said David Feaster of the Howser Trophy Committee. "All knew him personally and were aware of him as a tremendous player, coach and friend. The award was initially awarded at the Governors Baseball Dinner held each spring in St. Petersburg to welcome Spring Training to Fla. and as time progressed, we moved the presentation to Omaha, the center of college baseball, during the World Series. I have been involved with the award for over 20 years and have loved every minute of my involvement. I have had the opportunity to meet some great college players as well as some great young men. I am so proud of the Character quality we have in our award, which makes it unique. I am also proud of our selection process by the NCBWA which is the most democratic of any award and provides a true national scope.

"The Dick Howser trophy is now 26 years old and growing stronger," added Feaster. "It is a true testimony to Dick Howser’s ability as a player, coach and gentlemen. I am proud to be associated with it."

The winner's name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg - home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Both the winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.

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; Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice, 2010 and Taylor Jungmann, P, Texas, 2011.

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 64 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 153 years since the first intercollegiate contest in 1859 between Amherst and Williams.

The groups came together in 2012 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 two-way player) and NCBWA National Coach of the Year. The All-America and Freshman All-America teams, the Freshman Player and Pitcher of the Year also are also being presented by the NCBWA.

2012 Dick Howser Trophy:
Fri., May 18: Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists announced
Thu., June 7: Dick Howser Trophy finalists announced
Fri., June 15: Dick Howser Trophy winner announced

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