By John Manuel
September 30, 2001
USA Baseball, in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association, has named five finalists for the 24th annual Golden Spikes Award, which honors amateur baseball’s best player.
The winner will be announced by USA Baseball in early December. All five finalists for the Golden Spikes Award were chosen in the first round of the draft and were first-team All-Americans.
The finalists include Southern California righthander Mark Prior, Baseball America’s 2001 College Player of the Year. He’s joined on the ballot by Middle Tennessee State righty Dewon Brazelton, Tennessee shortstop Chris Burke, Florida State outfielder John-Ford Griffin and Kent State righthander/first baseman John VanBenschoten.
Three of the finalists were teammates for Team USA in 2000. Prior, a two-time Team USA member, led the Pacific-10 Confernce with a 15-1, 1.69 record with 202 strikeouts. He guided the Trojans back to the College World Series and was named the Pac-10 player of the year.
Brazelton led Middle Tennessee State to the NCAA regionals by going 13-2, 1.42 with 154 strikeouts, and set a Team USA record with a 0.65 ERA in the summer of 2000. Burke led the Volunteers to the CWS by batting .435 with 20 home runs, led the nation with 105 runs scored and added 49 stolen bases. He hit .376 with a team-leading 19 steals for Team USA in 2000.
Griffin, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, led the Seminoles in the triple crown categories, batting .450-19-75 with 30 doubles. He finished with a career batting average of .427, best ever in the ACC.
VanBenschoten was named the Mid America Conference player of the year and led Kent State to a regional bid. He led the Nation with 31 home runs and posted a .440 batting average with 17 doubles and 84 RBI
Past Golden Spikes Award Winners
Year GSA Recipient,School
2000 Kip Bouknight, South Carolina
1999 Jason Jennings, Baylor
1998 Pat Burrell, Miami
1997 J.D. Drew, Florida State
1996 Travis Lee, San Diego State
1995 Mark Kotsay ,Cal State Fullerton
1994 Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech
1993 Darren Dreifort, Wichita State
1992 Phil Nevin, Cal State Fullerton
1991 Mike Kelly, Arizona State
1990 Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade South
1989 Ben McDonald, Louisiana State
1988 Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State
1987 Jim Abbott, Michigan
1986 Mike Loynd, Florida State
1985 Will Clark, Mississippi State
1984 Oddibe McDowell, Arizona State
1983 Dave Magadan, Alabama
1982 Augie Schmidt, New Orleans
1981 Mike Fuentes, Florida State
1980 Terry Francona, Arizona
1979 Tim Wallach, Cal State Fullerton
1978 Bob Horner, Arizona State