Sept. 28, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State outfielder John-Ford Griffin, who signed with the New York Yankees after being drafted with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2001 MLB Draft, has been named one of five finalists for the 24th Annual Golden Spikes Award. Griffin is joined by Middle Tennessee State pitcher Dewon Brazelton, Tennessee shortstop Chris Burke, Southern California pitcher Mark Prior and Kent State outfielder John Vanbenschoten on the list of finalists. All five players were taken in the first round of the MLB Draft.
“John-Ford is one of the best pure hitters I’ve ever coached,” said Florida State head coach Mike Martin. “Being named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award is a tremendous honor and John-Ford certainly deserves to be recognized as one of the top five players in the country after the season he had for us.”
Griffin, a native of Sarasota, Fla., led the 2001 Seminoles with a .450 batting average, 19 home runs, 30 doubles and 75 RBI. He finished with a career batting average of .427, well ahead of J.D. Drew’s former school record of .391. Griffin, who was named the ACC Player of the Year, became the third Seminole in five years to be named a consensus All-American (Drew and Marshall McDougall). His .427 career average is the best ever in the ACC and ranks 16th in NCAA Division I history, behind several collegiate players that went on to become Major League standouts including Miami’s Pat Burrell (.442), Alabama’s Dave Magadan (.439), Washington State’s John Olerud (.434), Wichita State’s Joe Carter (.430) and Oklahoma State’s Robin Ventura (.428).
“It is a great honor to be named a finalist for the Golden Spikes,” said Griffin. “This award is the Heisman Trophy of baseball and when you look at the list of some of the past winners you’ll see the names of some of the greatest that have ever played the game. Just to be mentioned along with the other four guys is an honor in itself. ”
The Golden Spikes is regarded as collegiate baseball’s most prestigious award. The winner will be announced by USA Baseball (in coordination with the Major League Baseball Players Association) in early December. Florida State is one of only three schools (along with Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State) to have three Golden Spikes Award winners in its 23-year history. Mike Fuentes (1981), Mike Loynd (1986) and Drew (1997) won the Golden Spikes Award as Seminoles.
Griffin hit .315 in his first professional season with the Yankees’ A affiliate in Staten Island. He is Florida State’s 10th first round pick since 1991.
Florida State finished 2001 with a 47-19 record and won the ACC regular season title with a conference mark of 20-4. The Seminoles were ranked in the Top 10 in all three of the final polls. FSU checked in at No. 9 in the final Collegiate Baseball poll to extend its streak of Top 10 finishes in that poll to eight seasons – the longest current run in the country.