Mark Prior Wins Golden Spikes Award

Dec. 11, 2001

LOS ANGELES - Former USC pitcher Mark Prior was named today as the winner of the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, becoming the first player in USC history to receive the honor.

The award, presented by USA Baseball in coordination with the Major League Baseball Players Association, is given to the nation's top amateur player. The award is presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. Past winners of the award include Pat Burrell, J.D. Drew, Mark Kotsay, Jason Varitek, Darren Dreifort, Phil Nevin, Bob Horner, Will Clark and Robin Ventura.

Prior, who was 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA in his junior season with the Trojans, earned seven Player of the Year honors in 2001 including the Smith Award and the Dick Howser Trophy (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association). He also was named as the top player in the nation by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, The Sporting News and the American Baseball Coaches' Association.

'It is a tremendous honor to receive the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award on behalf of the University of Southern California,' said Prior. 'Of all the seasonal awards, this is the one that I wanted to win the most. Of course, I have to give credit to my teammates and my coaches at USC for helping make it happen. Without them, none of these individual accomplishments would have been possible. I'd also like to thank my parents, and the rest of my family and friends, for all of their continuing support.'

He becomes only the second player in history to sweep every major national player of the year award (Baylor's Jason Jennings in 1999).

The 6-5, 220-pound native of Bonita, Calif., struck out a school and Pac-10 Conference record 202 batters last season and allowed only 18 walks in 138 2/3 innings of work. The Trojans finished the season with a 45-19 record and made their second consecutive trip to the College World Series.

Prior, who is currently attending classes at USC, signed with the Chicago Cubs in August after being selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the June draft.

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