Ryan Garko Wins Johnny Bench Award

June 24, 2003

Wichita, Kan. - Stanford senior catcher Ryan Garko (Walnut, CA/Servite HS) was named the winner of the Fourth Annual Johnny Bench Award announced The Greater Wichita Sports Commission on Tuesday. Garko, who reached the semifinal round last year, is the first ever winner from Stanford. Johnny Bench presented the award to the nation's top collegiate catcher during the 2003 season on Tuesday at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.

'As a catcher, it's really an honor to receive an award with Johnny Bench's name on it,' said Garko. 'I would like to thank The Greater Wichita Sports Commission for honoring me with this award. Personally, it's an exciting way for me to finish my career atStanford.'

Garko led the Cardinal to its third College World Series runner-up finish in the last four seasons and an overall record of 51-18 in 2003, tying for third on the school's all-time win list. The Cardinal won its first outright Pac-10 title since 1999 (Stanford shared the 2000 conference crown with Arizona State and UCLA) before sweeping through NCAA Regional and Super Regional action unbeaten. At the CWS, the Cardinal battled back from a second round loss to Cal State Fullerton to win its bracket and extend national champion Rice to a third and deciding game in the inaugural CWS Championship Series.

Garko was the Co-Pac-10 Player of the Year, a First Team All-American, Regional Most Outstanding Player and All-College World Series selection in 2003. He hit a team-high .402 to become just the sixth Stanford player to ever bat over .400 in the season and the first since David McCarty hit .420 in 1991. Garko finished the season with more homers (18) than strikeouts (17). He also tied Stanford's single-season record with 92 RBI. In addition, he led the club in home runs (18, #8T Stanford single-season list), doubles (24, co-leader with Carlos Quentin, #2T Stanford single-season list), total bases (182), slugging percentage (.703), multiple-hit games (33), multiple-RBI games (27), sacrifice flies (8) and extra-base hits (42). In addition, he ranked second on the club in hits (104, #6T Stanfordsingle-season list), walks (28), hit-by-pitches (12) and putouts (411).

Garko earned NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player honors for the second time in his career in 2003 (co-winner in 2000) after hitting .615 (8-13) with three homers, nine RBI, eight runs scored and a 1.385 slugging percentage. He was also especially successful in 24 Pac-10 games (23 starts), hitting .433 with 10 homers and leading the conference in Pac-10 games only with 39 RBI, an .856 slugging percentage and 77 total bases.

Among Garko's other highlights in 2003 was a series of Player of the Week honors (NCBWA National Co-Hitter, College Baseball Insider West Regional, Pac-10) earned by going 10-for-13 (.769) with three homers, 12 RBI and a stolen base to lead the Cardinal to a key three-game sweep at USC (May 3-4).

Garko was also one of 10 semifinalists for the 2002 Johnny Bench Award, when he hit .314 with 14 homers and 55 RBI to also earn All-Pac-10 and All-NCAA Regional honors.

Garko finished his Stanford career with a .350 batting average (#9T Stanford career list), 39 homers (#9 Stanford career list) and 191 RBI (#7T Stanford career list) in 218 games played and 198 starts. He also had 60 career doubles to rank fifth on the school's all-time list.

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