Casey At Bat: An All-American On The Field And In The Classroom
Oct. 31, 2000
If there was a listing for All-American in the dictionary, the college baseball version of Webster's would surely include a picture of Arizona State's Casey Myers.
On the field and off, the Arizona State University senior catcher is every bit All-American. You could fill numerous sheets of paper with his awards and honors, but to truly understand Myers, all you have to do is attend a ASU practice and find him hard at work, displaying tremendous leadership and working hard to improve ever facet of his game.
While he exemplifies the term All-American, he also defines the role of what a model student-athlete on a college campus should be. An academic All-American off the field and star on the field, Myers has been on top of his game since arriving in Tempe as a freshman in 1997. His rookie campaign of 1998 ended with the Sun Devils placing second at the College World Series in Omaha and only one year into his ASU career, Myers had already earned his first All-American awards. The Sporting News and Collegiate Baseball recognized his talents and placed him on both of their freshman All-American teams. In addition, Myers was named a third team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
His freshman year is only where the remarkable story begins. The 2000 season best exemplifies the type of person, athlete, role model and scholar Myers is. While leading the Sun Devils to a 44-15 record and a share of the Pac-10 Championship, Myers hit .412 (9th best in ASU history) with 18 home runs and 97 RBI. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year and was honored on almost every All-American team. Behind Myers potent bat, ASU advanced to the NCAA regionals for the third time in the last four years.
'It is hard to describe what one guy does for one baseball team, but Casey Myers is a special guy on and off the field and an instrumental part of our program,' says ASU head coach Pat Murphy. 'He is a first class individual and a true ambassador to what amateur athletics is all about. To say he is a student of the game is an understatement. We are lucky and proud to have him in our program.'
The honors, the accolades, they really don't mean that much in the end, but when you add them all up, you start to realize the how big of a story Myers really is. His awards from the 2000 season don't stop pouring in either. In addition to the numerous All-American certificates, he was a finalist on the Baseball America Player of the Year watch, a semifinalist for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top catcher and was honored by Collegiate Baseball as the Easton/Redline Defensive Player of the Year.
But perhaps, putting all of the on-field awards aside, the true honor and award Arizona State University should be most proud of was Myers being named the Academic All-American of the Year for all of collegiate baseball. A two-time selection to the all-district and Pac-10 academic teams, Myers and his 4.0 GPA in mathematics and economics made him the most decorated player in college baseball for the '00 season.
A graduate of Case Grande Union High School, Myers came to ASU as the Arizona Player of the Year. The son of a former Sun Devil catcher, Clinton Myers, Casey was born to wear the Maroon and Gold of ASU. He was a member of the Team USA Junior Olympic baseball team and arrived at Packard Stadium as a freshman with high expectations, and has since not disappointed. Described as a student of the game on the field, and a math wiz off the field (he scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT) Myers and ASU quickly became the perfect match. Under the tutelage of head coach Pat Murphy, Myers quickly developed into one of the best pure hitters in college baseball.
Myers hit .386 during his freshman campaign and clubbed .400 in the College World Series. He was selected as the Pac-10 South Player of the Week twice and was named the squads newcomer of the year. While his sophomore season saw him hit .329 and belt six home runs, Myers pulled in his first academic awards by being named to the Pac-10 Academic team as well as GTE first-team Academic All-American.
Putting his sophomore year behind him, Myers jumped out of the gates hot in 2000 and never looked back. Teaming with outfielder Mitch Jones, the two were the fiercest one-two punch in all of college baseball. Myers finished the year ranked 30th in the NCAA in batting (.412), third in RBI per game and 35th in home runs. The duo of Jones and Myers combined for 45 home runs, 189 RBI and 187 hits, leading ASU to a final ranking of No. 12.
While his ASU career has been marked by great success, Myers turned down an opportunity to play professional baseball this summer after being drafted in the 30th round by the Milwaukee Brewers. Instead, the 22-year-old spent his summer playing with Team USA travelling over the United States honing his skills against top international competition. In the day and age of greedy ball players and seven-digit signing bonuses, Myers kept his eye on completing his degree in May, and returned to Tempe for his senior year in the classroom and on the field.
With a career .380 batting average, he is currently ninth in the ASU record books and is fifth with 206 career RBI. With a solid season, Myers should have no problem breaking the ASU and Pac-10 record for RBI in a career and is likely to crack the top 10 in several other career categories.
2001 Preview:Besides Myers returning for his senior campaign and making at becoming ASU's first National Player of the Year since catcher Paul LoDuca in 1993, the Sun Devils are stacked heading into the 43rd year of baseball in modern school history. The entire infield returns, including all-Pac-10 performer Brooks Conrad (2B), freshman All-American Dennis Wyrick, three-year starter Jeff Phelps and third baseman Mike Lopez. Outfielder/DH Jonah Martin and utility player Mel Stocker also return to the Diamond in '01 after successful season last year. All-American Jon Switzer returns as the ace of the pitching staff, and relief pitchers Eric Doble and Franco Pezely provide a solid force out of the bullpen. A class of 19 newcomers, highlighted by eight drafted players, make up the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation according to Baseball America. The 2001 schedule is as strong as ever, including three-game showdown in early March with defending College World Series champion LSU. In all, ASU will play 36 home games at Packard Stadium, opening the '01 slate with 16 consecutive at home. In all, the Sun Devils will face eight teams and a combined 22 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year.
By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations