|OMAHA, Neb. (NCBWA) – Another in a long
line of West Coast collegiate pitching standouts, Long Beach State All-America
junior righthander Jered Weaver of Simi Valley, Calif., has been
voted as recipient of the 18th annual Xanthus Dick Howser Trophy
as 2004 college baseball player of the year.
Weaver’s numbers for ’04 almost seem too good to be true. He was a record
six-time Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger Pitcher of the Week.
Weaver also became just the 14th pitcher in NCAA Division I history to record
200-plus (201) strikeouts in a season. The two-time consensus first team
All-America had 14 games with 10-plus strikeouts, and the opposition included
Southern California, Baylor, Houston, Brigham Young, UCLA, Wichita State,
Cal State Fullerton (on two occasions), UC Irvine, Cal Poly, UCSB, Pacific,
and Miami (Fla.). He also struck out the first 10 hitters he faced in separate
contests against Southern California in February and Brigham Young in March.
Seven of his mound victories were over Top 30 opponents, including NCAA
World Series entry Arizona during the regular season, California, USC, Wichita
Satte, UC Irvine, and Stanford.
He was leading the nation in total wins (15-1), strikeouts (201 in 136
1/3 innings pitched), opponents’ batting average (for pitchers with 100-plus
frames) at .161, and had a 1.65 ERA for third nationally prior to the June
18-27/28 NCAA World Series. His total of 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings
also topped the country.
"We are thrilled to be presenting Jered Weaver of Long Beach State with
the 2004 Xanthus Dick Howser Trophy," said Xanthus Howser Trophy chair David
Feaster of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. "He embodies all
the skills of the great student-athlete and has represented his university
and country well as a previous member of Team USA in 2003. His character
counted in the voting and selection process, and he showed great courage
while facing just about every team’s ace this spring."
"Jered Weaver had a phenomenal season," said LBSU head coach Mike Weathers.
"He carried this team, and his statistics actually don’t tell the whole
story. He completely dominated most of the hitters he faced, and we are
extremely proud that he has received this national honor."
In voting by members of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
in conjunction with the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Area Chamber of Commerce,
the "Beach" righty joins a heady list of pitchers who have moved from the
Xanthus Howser Trophy to even greater heights. Three of the winners in the
last decade have displayed their talents in Major League Baseball in 1995’s
Kris Benson, 1999’s Jason Jennings and 2001 winner Mark Prior.
Weaver is the first man on the mound to capture these kudos since Prior
after Clemson shortstop Khalil Greene in 2002 and Southern University 2B
Rickie Weeks in 2003.
The junior standout has been Co-Big West Player of the Year for the past
two seasons, first team All-Big West in both 2003 and ’04, eight-time National
Pitcher of the Week during the two most recent seasons, 13-time Big West
Pitcher of the Week, and preseason (2004) NCBWA All-America in addition
to consensus post-2004 All-America laurels.
His sophomore campaign in 2003 included a 14-4 overall record, 144 strikeouts
in 133-plus innings, a 1.96 ERA and a .182 opponents’ average.
Imposing at 6-7, 205 pounds, he has set school strikeout records in each
of the last two seasons at Long Beach State while registering a career record
of 37-9 (.804 winning percentage) and leading his conference in every major
pitching stats’ category as both a sophomore and junior. His career ERA
is 2.43—fourth-best in the pitching-rich history of the 49ers.
Equally impressive are his summer diamond accomplishments as he competed
for Team USA in 2003 and the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska League after his
collegiate freshman year. He had an amazing 45 2/3 consecutive scoreless
innings while pitching for the ’03 national team with a record 0.38 ERA.
He was named Baseball America's Summer Player of the Year with that
Team USA all-time-low ERA. That came after he had a 1.11 earned run average
in 64-plus innings and was 5-1 for Anchorage in 2002. Weaver was chosen
as Baseball America's Summer All-America in both of those campaigns.
He was selected as the 12th player in the 2004 MLB draft first round
by the nearby Anaheim Angels and helped his collegiate squad advance two
rounds into the 2004 NCAA tournament. LBSU upended homestanding Stanford
in the NCAA Stanford Regional before falling twice in extra innings to Arizona
in the Long Beach Super Regionals.
Weaver’s hometown of Simi Valley also has received worldwide recognition
recently as the site of the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and the
eventual resting place of the United States President.
The Xanthus Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the 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.
In addition to Friday's presentation by NCBWA President Jeff Hurd of
the Western Athletic Conference, there will be a special ceremony during
the 2004-05 academic year on the Long Beach State campus before the big
righthander’s family, friends and teammates.
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.
The winner's name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust
of Howser permanently displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home
of the Tampa Bay D-Rays and the 1999 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four, among
other championship events. Both the winner and his school receive a special
trophy to keep on public display at the university.
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce has been the guiding force
in Xanthus Howser Trophy activities since the first award in 1987 and has
helped the region in numerous baseball projects. It has been a force in
both in spring training locales and during the pursuit of a Major League
Baseball franchise for the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg area and is the home
for the Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. 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, and is in its fifth decade of coverage and promotion of
college baseball on all levels. The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly
after Howser's death. 1987-98 winners were selected by the American Baseball
Coaches Association before the NCBWA became the voting body in 1999.
Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, Miami (Fla.), 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, Southern California,
2001; Khalil Greene, Clemson, 2002; Rickie Weeks, Southern, 2003; Jered
Weaver, Long Beach State, 2004.
• Ten finalists named for 2004 Dick Howser Trophy
• Semifinalists named for 2004 Dick Howser Trophy
• Dick Howser Trophy
official site (dickhowsertrophy.com)