May 18, 2012
Complete Release & List of Howser Trophy Semifinalists
DALLAS -- Already a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, Purdue baseball's Kevin Plawecki has also been selected the among the 35 semifinalists nationally for the Dick Howser Trophy, an award given to the top player in college baseball.
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.
The Dick Howser Trophy winner is determined by two rounds of national voting by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The award will be presented on Friday, June 15, the opening day of the 2012 College World Series.
Wednesday, Plawecki was selected among the 12 semifinalists nationally for the Johnny Bench Award, which recognizes the top NCAA Division I catcher. The junior was of two catchers to be on the Bench Award semifinalists for the second year in a row. He's the lone player from the Big Ten Conference on the latest watch lists for both national awards.
Around the country, Baylor's Josh Ludy, Florida's Mike Zunino and Plawecki were among the semifinalists for both the Johnny Bench Award and Howser Trophy.
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.
Plawecki has helped lead Purdue to a program-record 41 victories and the program's first Big Ten title since 1909. He has started all 51 games as the Boilers' cleanup hitter this season. The junior leads the team with 19 doubles, 26 extra-base hits, a .455 on-base percentage and a .562 slugging percentage, while also ranking second in batting average (.366), runs scored (48) and walks (23). With only eight strikeouts in 194 at-bats, he is once against the most difficult batter to strikeout in the Big Ten.
Plawecki has started 41 of the 51 games behind the plate, including 20 of the 21 Big Ten contests. While calling his own game, the Carmel, Ind., native has worked with a Purdue pitching staff that enters the day leading the Big Ten with a 3.02 team ERA. Defensively, he has committed only one error and thrown out 14 of 33 would-be basestealers (42 percent).
The Howser Trophy was created in 1987 not long after his death. Previous notable winners of the Howser Trophy includes: Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State, 1988; Todd Helton, Tennessee, 1995; Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech, 2000; Rickey Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003; Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; David Price, P, Vanderbilt, 2007; Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008; and Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State. Texas pitcher Taylor Jungmann won the award last year.