OMAHA, NE – Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi joins a long list of baseball legends to have his name etched into the historic Dick Howser Trophy as the top collegiate baseball player in the country.
In the midst of the most prolific season in Razorback history, Benintendi has been named the winner of the 2015 Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations and announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The formal presentation will take place Saturday morning at a 10 a.m. press conference at TD Ameritrade Park.
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 which were exemplified by Dick Howser’s life.
Past winners of the prestigious award include Robin Ventura, Jason Varitek, Todd Helton, J.D. Drew, Mark Teixeira, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg and most recently Kentucky’s AJ Reed in 2014 as the best collegiate baseball player in the nation.
Currently tied for the national lead in home runs, Benintendi has now been named the Dick Howser Trophy winner, the Baseball America National Player of the Year, the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and the SEC Player of the Year. He is also one of four finalists for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award.
Benintendi was recently drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the seventh overall pick, making him the third-highest drafted player in program history behind Jeff King going No. 1 overall in 1986 and Kevin McReynolds at No. 6 overall in 1981.
The Cincinnati native is on the brink of becoming the third player in SEC history to lead the league in home runs and batting average, currently holding a one-homer lead and five-point edge in batting average. He would join Rafael Palmeiro (Miss. State in ‘84) and Jeff Abbott (UK in ‘94) as the only players in conference history to accomplish the feat.
The sophomore is one of two players in the country to rank in the top 15 in home runs and batting average and one of two individuals in the nation with 15-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases. He is just one home run away from being the fifth player in school history to reach 20 home runs in a season.
In the best baseball conference in America, Benintendi leads the SEC in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, on base percentage and walks, and is the only player in the nation to rank in the top 25 nationally in every category.
Benintendi is the seventh SEC player to be named the National Player of the Year by Baseball America, joining Dave Magadan (Alabama, 1983), Ben McDonald (LSU, 1989), Todd Helton (Tennessee, 1995), David Price (Vanderbilt, 2007), Mike Zunino (Florida, 2012) and AJ Reed (Kentucky, 2014).
Benintendi will make his College World Series debut on Saturday when Arkansas takes on Virginia at 2 p.m. at TD Ameritrade Park.