David Cooper Named One of 16 Semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy
May 16, 2008
LINCOLN, NEB. - The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, working in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, has named California junior first baseman David Cooper as one of 16 semifinalists for the 2008 Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top player in college baseball. The NCBWA will choose the Dick Howser Trophy based on three rounds of voting. The 2008 winner will be announced just prior to the first game of the College World Series, with a press conference slated for Saturday, June 14 at 10 a.m. (CDT) at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
Cooper, from Stockton, Calif., is also a Baseball America preseason All-American; and a 2008 Golden Spikes and Wallace Award candidate. He has been dominant in 2008, going 74-for-200 (.370) at the plate with 13 doubles, a Pac-10 leading 19 home runs (including a grand slam) and 55 RBI in 51 games. Cooper is second in the conference with 144 total bases, third with 74 hits and 55 runs, fifth with a .720 slugging percentage, sixth with 35 walks and seventh with a .461 on-base percentage. He has had two game-winning hits this season, as well, and was the Apr. 1 Pac-10 Player of the Week.
Cal's top newcomer in 2007, Cooper was a transfer from Cal State Fullerton, where he was a member of the 2006 College World Series All-Tournament team. An All-Pac-10 selection and team MVP in 2007 for the Bears, Cooper batted a team-leading .382 with a team-best 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 55 RBI last season.
In 2006, Cooper flirted with a College World Series record with seven consecutive hits, tying Terry Francona (1980) and one short of Dave Magadan (1983) and Barry Bonds (1984). He led all players at the 2006 World Series with a .533 average (8-for-15) with five RBI. In less then two seasons at Cal, Cooper has a combined batting average of .376 (152-for-404, vying for the school record for career batting average of .381 set by Mike Epstein, 1963-64) with 27 doubles, 31 home runs (seventh on the Cal all-time HR list) and 110 RBI.
The 16 candidates hail from nine different conferences, with the SEC producing four and the Pac-10 listing three. Eight different positions are represented on the list, including five pitchers, three outfielders and two first basemen.
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. 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.
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.
The Bears (32-17-2, 11-10 in the Pac-10) are taking this week off for finals before concluding their regular season with a three-game Pac-10 series versus UCLA, beginning Friday, May 23 at 2:30 p.m. at Evans Diamond.
2008 DICK HOWSER TROPHY SEMIFINALISTSIke Davis, UT, Arizona State; Brett Wallace, 3B, Arizona State; David Cooper, 1B, California; Buster Posey, C, Florida State; Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia; Chris Shehan, OF, Georgia Southern; Sawyer Carroll, OF, Kentucky; Collin Cowgill, OF, Kentucky; Jemile Weeks 2B, Miami (Fla.); Aaron Crow, P, Missouri; Johnny Dorn, P, Nebraska; George Brown, P, St. John's; Brian Matusz, P, San Diego; Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State; Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina; Shooter Hunt, P, Tulane