July 3, 2010
Anthony Rendon, Rice's slugging third baseman and already the 2010 National Player of Year according to both Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association, was named the winner of the prestigious Dick Howser Trophy at the College Baseball Foundation's National Awards Show Friday evening in Lubbock, Texas.
As the baseball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, The Dick Howser Trophy is the annual award presented to the nation's outstanding collegiate baseball player. The nominees for the award are selected from the country's 288 Division I colleges and voted on by more than 300 members of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Dick Howser Trophy Committee. Rendon is the 24th recipient of the honor which dates back to 1987. The Howser Trophy is officially presented by The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce® through the College Baseball Foundation's home in Lubbock, site of the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
"This is overwhelming," Rendon said shortly after Friday's presentation ceremony. "It was honor just being one of the finalists, and being named the actual winner is amazing. There were a lot of guys with great years so it feels tremendous.
"When the season started back in February, and even in the practices before that (January), I worked pretty hard because I wanted to have a good year," Rendon said. "I got off to a slow start, but I thought I had a better second half of the season. I was happy how I finished the season, but the main thing was winning the conference championship and going to a (NCAA) Regional.
"I met (College Baseball Foundation Executive Vice President) Jana Howser before the ceremony and she told me about the past winners, about what kind of players they are - of how so many made it to the major leagues - and also what kind of people they are. It really hit home that this is a special award to be a part of.
"I want to thank my parents who took me to hundreds of little league games, provided transportation, equipment and opportunities," he added. "I want to thank (head) coach (Wayne) Graham, who has been in coaching 30 years and seen it all. He is easy to talk to and a very-great and supportive coach. I want to thank the assistant coaches, the other Rice support staff and our fans. I've seen different awards shows on TV, but this was exciting actually being in one."
In his standout season of 2010, Rendon helped lead the Rice baseball program to its 16th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, 16th-consecutive season with 40-or-more wins, and 15th-straight conference championship. He batted .394 while leading Conference USA with 26 home runs, and he was among the nation's leaders in runs scored (83), walks (65), and RBI (85). The former Lamar High School star also maintained an .801 slugging percentage, a .530 on-base percentage, and finished with more home runs (26) than strikeouts (22). Defensively he had a .973 fielding percentage at third base (only four 3B errors all season) and started a total of 16 double-plays for the Blue & Gray.
The son of Rene and Bridget Rendon of Houston, his other accolades from 2010 include first team All-America from a host of media organizations, C-USA Male Athlete of the Year, the conference Baseball Player of the Year (for the second-straight year and just the second player in league history to earn that honor in back-to-back seasons), first team all-conference, selection to the C-USA All-Tournament team and being named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Austin Regional.
"Anthony is, as my dad use say, `poetry in motion'," said coach Graham, who in 2010 completed his 19th season at the helm of the Owl program and 30th season as a collegiate head coach. "I've seen him hit line drives in batting practice that were moving like golf balls. He was a leader from day-one when he came to campus. I do not have to push him. I just make sure to spell his name right in the lineup card every game," coach quipped.
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 for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser's life. It was founded by the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®.
A Florida native, Howser was twice an All-America shortstop at Florida State University (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.
"We are deeply honored by this tremendous recognition of Anthony Rendon as the recipient of the 2010 Dick Howser Award," said Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan. "There is no higher award given to a college baseball player, and Anthony's love of the game, humility, academic achievements and talent are the aspirations of all Rice student-athletes. Anthony's skills, along with Wayne Graham's unparalleled coaching, have crafted not only one of the best baseball players in America but one of the best teammates. The faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of Rice University congratulate Anthony Rendon."
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 and Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009.
Voting for the Dick Howser Trophy has been conducted by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association membership since 1999. NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization. The NCBWA was founded in 1962.
The College Baseball Foundation was established in 2004 and has inducted 57 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 150 years since the first intercollegiate contest in 1859 between Amherst and Williams.
Rendon led a list several college players presented with awards in Friday's ceremony. The honorees included Alex Wimmers (Ohio State), Pitcher of the Year; Bryan Holaday (TCU), Johnny Bench Award (top catcher); Chance Ruffin (Texas), Stopper of the Year; Mike McGee (Florida State), John Olerud Award (best two-way player); Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia) Brooks Wallace Award (shortstop of the year). Fans will have a chance to see Rendon and all the winners receive their respective honors as the awards ceremony will be webcast on a tape-delayed basis on MLB.com early next week.
Anthony Rendon Fact List
3B * Soph. * Rice University * Houston, Tex. (Wiess College)
2010 Howser Trophy Winner
C-USA Male Athlete of the Year (Fall 2009 & Spring 2010)
Honored by Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston City Council with "Anthony Rendon Day in Houston" on June 29, 2010
Rawlings Sporting Goods National Player of the Year by The American Baseball Coaches Association
National Player of the Year by Baseball America magazine
National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association District VII Player of the Year for second time in as many years
Invited to the United States National Team try-outs, with a chance to represent his country in games against international competition (Japan, Cuba, etc., later this summer)
All-America selection (many baseball/sports publications)
All-Region selection by the American Baseball Coaches Association for the second time in as many years
Voted Most Outstanding Player of NCAA Austin Regional
Only the second player in Conference USA history to be named the league's Player of the Year two years in a row
First Team All-Conference USA for the second time in as many years
C-USA All-Tournament Team for the second time in as many years
Three-time C-USA Hitter of the Week Honoree
All-Silver Glove Series team (for annual five-game series with crosstown rival Houston)
Voted the 2010 C-USA Preseason Player of the Year on a vote by C-USA Coaches
Led the team and was among the NCAA leaders in home runs (26), RBI (85) and walks (65) in 63 games
Tops on the Owls and among the C-USA's best in batting average (.394), runs (83), slugging percentage (.801), on-base average (.530) and steals (14)
One of only two Owls to start every game (and has started every game in his collegiate career)
Clean-up hitter in 60 of 63 starts
Tallied more home runs (26) than strikeouts (22), and almost had three-times as many walks (65) as strikeouts
Hit a steady .400 in the NCAA Tournament, .402 in C-USA league games and .412 in all home games at Reckling Park
Batted .422 with runners on base, .493 with runners in scoring position
Two of his four hits with the bases-loaded were grand slam home runs
Hit .407 when there were already two outs already recorded in the inning
Posted 25 multiple-hit games, 20 multiple RBI games and maintained a 14-game hitting streak
Tied a career-high with four hits in a game (three times)
Registered three or more hits in a game 11 times
Recorded four games with two or more home runs, including Rice's first three-home run game since 1995 (which he did in the NCAA Tournament)
Amassed 181 total bases, the seventh-best single season total in school history
Tallied a career-best 13 total bases in the three-homer day against Rider, one of the highest marks in school history
Had the program's seventh-highest single-season RBI total (85) and best by an Owl since 1998
Drove-in five runs (or more) in a game four times and three-or-more RBI 11 times
Registered eight RBI in a victory over eventual NCAA Tournament team California, the highest total by an Owl since 2002
Twice scored a career-high four runs in a game
Drew four walks in the season-opener at Stanford, a level of respect from opposing pitchers that followed him all season
Intentionally-walked 12 times
Shared the team lead in steals (14) and converted on 14-of-18 stolen base attempts
Logged an eye-opening .978 fielding percentage and made only four errors at third base all season
Totaled 140 defensive assists from the hot corner
Tallied a career-high seven defensive assists at third base in one game (against Southern Miss)
Involved in 16 of the team's 67 defensive double plays
Yes, it's true: In a May 27 road game he was 2-for-2 with two runs scored, a stolen base and five RBI, ALL in the FIRST INNING. (Rice batted around in the top of the first inning and in his second at bat he hit a grand slam. On that day he already had five RBI before the home team even came up to bat!)
Rendon's Rice Record Chase
Career slugging percentage of .750 is the second-highest in school history, trailing only Major League All-Star Lance Berkman in the Rice ledgers
Rendon's .801 slugging percentage is the fourth-best single-season mark in school history and better than Lance Berkman's .747 mark in 1996.
Owns 46 career home runs, the third-highest total in school history and trailing only eventual major leaguers Lance Berkman and Bubba Crosby
Only player in Rice history to reach 20 home runs in both his freshman and sophomore seasons
The 26 home runs this season tied for the second-highest single season total in school history
Career batting average of .391 is the second-highest in C-USA history and in Rice history, trailing only 1998 ABCA Player of the Year Damon Thames
The 65 walks is tied for the second-highest single season total at Rice, and one better than longtime major league star and Rice great Jose Cruz Jr.
Named a national semifinalist for both the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award as a true freshman
Greater-Houston Collegiate Player of the Year by the Houston Astros/local chapter of the Baseball Writers Assoc.
Baseball America National Freshman of the Year
NCBWA District VII Player of the Year
NCAA All-Regional Team
Conference USA Player of the Year
C-USA Freshman of the Year
First Team All-Conference USA
Most Valuable Player of C-USA Tournament
Most Outstanding Player of 2009 Silver Glove Series
Led the conference in batting average (.388), slugging percentage (.702) and home runs with a Rice freshman record of 20 round-trippers
Tops on the team and among the league's best in RBI (72)
Knocked 14 doubles and scored 60 runs in 61 games
Drew 31 walks for a .496 on-base average
One of only two Owls to start every game
Batted fourth in the lineup in 57 of 61 starts
Started at third base on opening day and was there for each of the next 534.2 consecutive innings
Played 98.4 percent of the team's 542.2 innings at third base
Left the final game of the NCAA Super Regional in the second inning with an ankle injury, stopping his defensive innings streak as well as a blazing 12-for-19 (.632) hitting pace that included a home run, two doubles, seven RBI and five runs scored
Hit .500 in the Owls' seven-game run through the NCAA Tournament, .392 in C-USA games and a steady .405 in all home games at Reckling Park
Loves the big games in front of big crowds, batting .467 (14-for-30) with 10 RBI in nine games where the attendance was more than 4,500 fans
Batted .404 with runners on base, .478 with runners in scoring position and .571 (4-for-7) with the bases loaded
Hit .450 when there were already two outs already recorded in the inning
Shared the team lead in multiple-hit games, multiple RBI games and longest hitting streak (13-straight games)
Twice collected a career-best four hits in a game
Registered three or more hits in a game 12 times
Recorded two, two-homerun games (against Tulane and eventual College World Series participant Southern Miss)
Tallied nine total bases in the two-homer day against the Green Wave, the most by an Owl in a game all year
Had the program's highest single-season RBI total in seven years and 11th-best mark in school history
Drove-in four runs in a game four times and three-or-more RBI nine times
Scored a season-high three runs in a game three times
Walked more than times (31) than striking out (23)
Intentionally-walked five times
Once drew three walks in a single game
Converted on 9-of-11 stolen base attempts
Finished fifth on the team with nine steals (but was only two steals away from leading the team)
Logged the best fielding percentage at third (.945) since eventual major leaguer Craig Stansberry finished with .949 mark in the National Championship season of 2003
Made more defensive put outs than any Owl third baseman (47), or combination of Owl third basemen, dating back to the College World Series team of 2002
Totaled 159 defensive assists from third, one of the highest marks in school history
Tallied a season-high five assists in game six different times, including a stretch of three consecutive games against Notre Dame, Oral Roberts and San Diego
Involved in 20 of the team's 73 defensive double plays, including 16 that went around-the-horn, two where he snared a line drive and doubled a runner off first, and two where he stepped on third before throwing to another station