DALLAS - Southern Miss senior first baseman Dylan Burdeaux (West Monroe, La.), has earned a spot as a 2017 Dick Howser Award semifinalist given by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The award, given to the top player in collegiate baseball, is based on two rounds of national voting.
Burdeaux, who currently has a team-best eight-game hitting streak and is in the top 10 in at least eight different categories at the school for his career, holds a season batting average of .355 with a team-best 21 doubles, nine home runs and a C-USA high 61 RBI. The only player to start in every game for the Golden Eagles also leads the country in hits with 88. The team's leadoff hitter also has 16 stolen bases which ranks second in the league as does his doubles total. He also has scored a team-high 56 runs.
This is the 31st year of the Dick Howser Trophy. The finalists will be announced on Friday, June 9. The 2017 award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the seventh year. The winner will be unveiled on MLB Network on Friday, June 16 and then a press conference with the winner will be held on Saturday, June 17 at 10 a.m. (CDT), the opening day of the 2017 CWS.
The candidates hail from 11 different conferences and 21 different schools. The Atlantic Coast Conference leads the way with six semifinalists, followed by the Southeastern Conference with four, Big 12 and Pac-12 with three, Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley with two each and American Athletic, Big Ten, Conference USA, Southland and West Coast Conferences with one each. Every position on the diamond is represented, including six starting pitchers, four first basemen, four outfielders, three shortstops, two third basemen, two second basemen, two utility players, one catcher and one relief pitcher.
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 of 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 twice an All-America shortstop at Florida State (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.
“The Dick Howser Trophy was founded shortly after his death by a few friends of Dick’s in the St. Petersburg Area who played, coached and worked with him,” said David Feaster, chairman of the Howser Trophy Committee. “All knew him personally and were aware of him as a tremendous player, coach and friend. The award was initially awarded at the Governors Baseball Dinner held each spring in St. Petersburg to welcome Spring Training to Florida and as time progressed, we moved the presentation to Omaha, the center of college baseball, during the World Series. I have been involved with the award for more than 25 years and have loved every minute of my involvement. I have had the opportunity to meet some great college players as well as some great young men. I am so proud of the character quality we have in our award, which makes it unique. I am also proud of our selection process by the NCBWA which is the most democratic of any award and provides a true national scope.
“The Dick Howser trophy is now 31 years old and growing stronger,” added Feaster. “It is a true testimony to Dick Howser’s ability as a player, coach and gentlemen. I am proud to be associated with it.”
The winner's name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser 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.
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, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, 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, P/DH, Houston, 2006; David Price, P, Vanderbilt, 2007; Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008; Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice, 2010; Taylor Jungmann, P, Texas, 2011; Mike Zunino, C, Florida, 2012; Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego, 2013; A.J. Reed, P/1B, Kentucky, 2014; Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas, 2015; and Seth Beer, OF, Clemson, 2016.
2017 DICK HOWSER TROPHY SEMIFINALISTS
Pos. Name, School
Riley Adams, C, San Diego
J.B. Bukauskas, SP, North Carolina
Seth Beer, OF, Clemson
Dylan Burdeaux, 1B, Southern Miss
Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
Morgan Cooper, SP, Texas
Greg Deichmann, OF, LSU
Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State
Drew Ellis, 3B, Louisville
Stuart Fairchild, OF, Wake Forest
Ben Fisher, 1B, Eastern Kentucky
Steven Gingery, SP, Texas Tech
Brian Glowicki, RP, Minnesota
Hunter Hargrove, 1B, Texas Tech
Adam Haseley, UTL, Virginia
Luke Heimlich, SP, Oregon State
Niko Hulsier, OF, Morehead State
Ryan Mahan, 2B, Kentucky
Brendan McKay, UTL, Louisville
David Peterson, SP, Oregon
Brent Rooker, 1B, Mississippi State
Jake Scheiner, SS, Houston
Braden Schewmake, 2B, Texas A&M
Taylor Schwaner, SS/3B, Southeastern Louisiana
Jake Thompson, SP, Oregon State