|Rhymes Named Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist|
LSU junior outfielder Raph Rhymes is on the list of semifinalists for the 2012 Dick Howser Trophy. The award, given to the top player in collegiate baseball, is based on two rounds of national voting.
The award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series. The presentation will take place on Friday, June 15 at 11 a.m. CT, the opening day of the 2012 CWS.
Rhymes, a native of Monroe, La. who was named 2012 SEC Player of the Year Monday by SEBaseball.com, leads the nation in batting average, hitting .469 (92-for-196) with 11 doubles, three homers and 49 RBI. Rhymes is hitting .594 (41-for-69) this season with runners in scoring position, and he's batting .458 in SEC games.
Rhymes leads the SEC in batting average, hits and on-base percentage (.522). He is No. 3 in the league in RBI (49), No. 5 in slugging percentage (.571) and No. 9 in total bases (112).
The Dick Howser Trophy candidates hail from 17 different conferences and 32 different schools. The Big 12 leads the way with six semifinalists, followed by the Southeastern Conference with five, ACC with three and the Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, Southland, Southern and West Coast Conferences with two. Every position on the diamond but shortstop is represented, including 10 starting pitchers, five outfielders, four catchers, second basemen and relief pitchers, three first basemen, two third basemen and utility players and one designated hitter, among this diversified group.
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.
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.
The winner's name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg - home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Both the winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.
LSU all-America first baseman Eddy Furniss received the Dick Howser Trophy in 1998.
The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death. 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; Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice, 2010 and Taylor Jungmann, P, Texas, 2011.
2012 DICK HOWSER TROPHY SEMIFINALISTS
Pos. Name, School
Mark Appel, P, Stanford
Robert Benincasa, RP, Florida State
Sean Bignall, OF, Arkansas-Little Rock
Trent Blank, P, Baylor
Austin Elkins, 2B, Dallas Baptist
Goose Kallunki, 1B, Utah Valley
Marty Gantt, OF, College of Charleston
Marco Gonzales, UT, Gonzaga
Andrew Heaney, P, Oklahoma State
Brock Hebert, 2B, Southeastern Louisiana
D.J. Hicks, 1B, UCF
Daniel Kassouf, DH, Appalachian State
Stefan Lopez, RP, Southeastern Louisiana
Michael Lorenzen, UT, Cal State Fullerton
Josh Ludy, C, Baylor
Luke Maile, C, Kentucky
Jamodrick McGruder, 2B, Texas Tech
Trenton Moses, 3B, Southeast Missouri
Chris O'Grady, RP, George Mason
D.J. Petersen, 3B, New Mexico
Nick Petree, P, Missouri State
Kevin Plawecki, C, Purdue
Danny Poma, OF, Hofstra
James Ramsey, OF, Florida State
Matthew Reckling, P, Rice
Carlos Rodon, P, NC State
Chris Rowley, P, Army
Raph Rhymes, OF, LSU
Zach Stephens, 1B, Tennessee Tech
Chris Stratton, P, Mississippi State
Ross Stripling, P, Texas A&M
Michael Wacha, P, Texas A&M
Michael Wagner, RP, San Diego
Alex Yarbrough, 2B, Ole Miss
Mike Zunino, C, Florida
Photo Courtesy of LSU
Photo caption: Former Neville Tiger and current LSU star baseball player Raph Ryhmes has been named a Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist. The Dick Howser Trophy is awarded annually to the NCAA top baseball player in the country.