June 18, 2008
Lubbock, Texas – The Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Award Selection Committee has announced its three finalists for the 2008 honor, which will be presented in a tape-delayed national telecast (FCS) on Wednesday, July 2, at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
The finalists are consensus All-America choices C Buster Posey of Florida State, SS Gordon Beckham of Georgia and pitcher Brian Matusz of San Diego.
The Wallace Award is a dedication to the memory of the former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace. Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Tech from 1977-80. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District his senior year. He led the Red Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980. After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27. The Plano, Texas, native was married to the former Sandy Arnold and they had one daughter, Lindsay Ryan.
Posey, Florida State’s slugging catcher and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year as well as 2008 CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic Baseball Player of the Year, captured the 22nd annual Whitney Bank Dick Howser Trophy back on June 14.
The CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-America in ’08 is a 6-2, 200-pound junior standout from Leesburg, Ga., and the fifth player selected overall in the 2008 MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants. He finished the season hitting .463 setting the single-season record for the highest batting average recorded at Florida State. He also has Top 10 individual credentials in seven of the NCAA’s Division I statistical categories. Through 68 games he tops the NCAA with 93 RBI, 119 hits, 89 runs, a .566 on-base percentage, and 226 total bases. He sports a .879 slugging percentage and is one of the top defensive catchers in the country with just eight errors in 483 chances for a .983 fielding percentage.
Beckham, a junior from Atlanta, Ga., was the eighth player chosen in June’s Major League Baseball draft in Round One by the Chicago White Sox. He has led Georgia to the NCAA World Series with a NCAA Super Regional triumph over NC State. He is a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award and the Wallace.
Beckham also was a unanimous choice by league coaches for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, first team All-SEC and SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He has started all 65 games at short for the Bulldogs in 2008 to extend his streak to 191 consecutive starts. He also smashed a school-record 26 home runs prior to the CWS.
Matusz is coming off a season in which he led the NCAA in strikeouts (141) and tied for fifth in the country in wins (12). He posted a 1.71 ERA, which is the fourth best all-time mark at USD in single-season ERA. The junior lefty was named the 2008 West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, and finished the season as the all-time career leader at San Diego in strikeouts (396). The junior southpaw also tied the program single-game record for strikeouts with 17 in a win against Harvard on March 22, 2008.
Matusz became USD’s highest draft pick in the current MLB format as he was taken No. 4 overall by the Baltimore Orioles. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Angels in 2005, but he elected to attend San Diego. He became the first San Diego player to be named as a finalist for both the Brooks Wallace and the Golden Spikes Awards. He also aided USD to its highest ranking (No. 4) in school history last season. Matusz was a member of the 2007 USA Baseball National Team and is also a finalist for the Roger Clemens award.
Past winners included Kurt Suzuki of Cal State Fullerton (2004), Alex Gordon of Nebraska (2005), and Brad Lincoln of Houston (2006). Last year’s winner was the number one choice in Major League Baseball’s 2007 First-Year Player Draft, David Price of Vanderbilt.
Information regarding the sale of individual tickets, as well as group and corporate tables, is available by calling (806) 777 – 8277 or through the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballfoundation.org.
Release courtesy of the College Baseball Foundation