Prior Named As Semifinalist For Dick Howser Trophy

April 27, 2001

CHICAGO - USC pitcher Mark Prior was named along with 19 other collegiate standouts as a semifinalist for the 2001 Dick Howser Trophy. The award is presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, in conjunction with the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce and goes to the top college baseball player. Voting on the award is done by the more than 200-person membership of the NCBWA.

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.

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 winner's name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser permanently displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the 1999 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. Both the winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated its 100th birthday in 1999. The organization has long been a vital force in the baseball affairs of the city, both in spring training and during the pursuit of a major league baseball franchise for the Tampa Bay area, and continues its solid role in the 21st Century.

The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death. 1987-98 winners were selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association. 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 and Mark Teixera, Georgia Tech.

Mark Prior is 11-1 on the season with a 1.18 ERA. In 91 2/3 innings, Prior has allowed 52 hits, struck out 135 and walked 12. He is tied for first in the nation in victories, first in strikeouts per nine innings (13.3) and fourth in earned-run-average.

(Special thanks for Russell Anderson of the NCBWA for the information on the award).

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