East Carolina senior catcher Corey Kemp has been named to the official 50-man watch list for the 2008 Dick Howser Trophy, given to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) announced Thursday afternoon.
Kemp, a Franklin, Tenn. native, has played in all 41 games with 36 coming behind the plate and is batting .349. Currently he leads the Conference USA and the team with 12 home runs, while also leading the club in RBI (47), total bases (97), and slugging percentage (.638).
On April 7 Kemp took home the Pirates second C-USA Hitter-of-the-Week honors. That week he led ECU to three victories, including a road series over then No. 20 Southern Miss, batted a team-best .450 (9-for-20) with two home runs, slugged .750 and had an on-base percentage of .522.
“Corey is one of the top players in Conference USA and has shown that he is a game changer both behind the plate and in the batters box,” said Head Coach Billy Godwin. “He is a team leader both on and off the field and is very deserving of this recognition and honor.”
The membership of the NCBWA will choose the Dick Howser Trophy based on three rounds of voting. The 2008 winner will be announced at the College World Series in Omaha on Saturday, June 14, at 10:00 a.m. CDT.
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 a two-time 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 baseball stadium on the Florida State campus is named for Howser, who will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.
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 Rays. Both the winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is in its 109th year of existence in 2008. 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.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.
The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death. 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, P, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, 1B, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC, 2001, Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickey Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003; Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon, 3B, Nebraska, 2005; Brad Lincoln, UT, Houston, 2006; and David Price, P, Vanderbilt, 2007.
2008 DICK HOWSER TROPHY WATCH LIST
Ike Davis, UT, Arizona State
Mike Leake, P, Arizona State
Brett Wallace, 3B, Arizona State
Jason Buursma, UT, Bucknell
David Cooper, 1B, California
Jeremie Tice, 3B, College of Charleston
Corey Kemp, C, East Carolina
Christian Friedrich, P, Eastern Kentucky
Josh Adams, 2B, Florida
Mike McKenna, Florida Atlantic
Buster Posey, C, Florida State
Justin Bour, 1B, George Mason
Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia
Joshua Fields, RP, Georgia
Chris Shehan, OF, Georgia Southern
Sawyer Carroll, OF, Kentucky
Collin Cowgill, OF, Kentucky
Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville
Matt Clark, 1B, LSU
Kyle Bellamy, RP, Miami (Fla.)
Chris Hernandez, P, Miami (Fla.)
Jemile Weeks 2B, Miami (Fla.)
Zach Putnam, UT, Michigan
Jacob Priday, OF, Missouri
Aaron Crow, P, Missouri
Johnny Dorn, P, Nebraska
Johnny Giavotella, 2B, New Orleans
Dustin Ackley, 1B, North Carolina
Kyle Seager, 2B, North Carolina
George Brown, P, St. John’s
Brian Matusz, P, San Diego
Stephen Strasburg,P, San Diego State
Ryne Jernigan, 2B, South Alabama
Reese Havens, SS, South Carolina
Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
Tyler Conn, RP, Southern Miss
Dane Carter, 3B, Texas A&M
Shooter Hunt, P, Tulane
Adam Carrithers, 2B, UCLA
Mark Carver, C, UNC Wilmington
Xavier Scruggs, 1B, UNLV
Michael Rockett, UTSA
Michael Schwimer, RP, Virginia
Vince Belnome, 3B, West Virginia
Jedd Gyorko, 2B, West Virginia
Chad Cregar, DH, Western Kentucky
Anthony Capra, P, Wichita State
Tim Park, C, William & Mary
Mike Sheridan, William & Mary
Ryan Lavarnway, OF, Yale