Gators catcher Mike Zunino a finalist for prestigious Dick Howser Trophy
Florida junior catcher Mike Zunino is a finalist for the 2012 Dick Howser Trophy, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate baseball player.
Zunino is the first finalist from the Gator Baseball program for the prestigious award.
Zunino, a two-time All-American and one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top catcher, became the highest-drafted player in Florida history when the Seattle Mariners took him third overall in the MLB Draft. The Cape Coral native is currently hitting .316 and leads the Gators in doubles (27), home runs (18), RBIs (60) and slugging percentage (.667). The All-SEC first-team catcher ranks No. 2 nationally in doubles (44), No. 5 in home runs and sacrifice flies (9), No. 10 in total bases (154) and No. 13 in slugging percentage (.667).
The 2011 SEC Player of the Year is a three-time NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament team selection. He has helped the Gators to a 45-18 record and will be making an appearance in the Gainesville Super Regional this weekend against NC State.
Balloting was conducted by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in conjunction with the College Baseball Foundation, the Dick Howser Trophy committee and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Utah Valley first baseman Goose Kallunki and LSU outfielder Raph Rhymes join Zunino as finalists for the prestigious 26th annual awarding of the Howser Trophy.
The winner will be announced on Friday, June 15, at noon during a national news conference at TD Ameritrade Park – the second-year home of the 66th annual NCAA World Series.
Finalist are required to embody the major principles of character, leadership, desire, and competitive spirit exhibited by Dick Howser, the All-America shortstop and former head coach at Florida State. Howser also managed the Kansas City Royals and led them to the world championship in 1985. He also is the namesake for Dick Howser Stadium at FSU. The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death.