June 25, 2022

By Fred Liggett

The Dick Howser Trophy is handed out each year before the first game is played in the College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The Trophy is presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. The award is named after former collegiate and Major League Baseball player and manager Dick Howser. Howser passed away in 1987 at the age of 51 from brain cancer. The first winner of this new trophy would be announced later that year.

This year’s College World Series continues through June 27th before a team is crowned a national champion. Before the games began on June 17th the 35th Dick Howser Trophy winner was announced in an award ceremony held inside Charles Schwab Park in Omaha. On hand to make the announcement was Howser Trophy Executive Director David Feaster and NCBWA Executive Director Bo Carter. This year’s Howser Trophy winner is Texas first baseman Ivan Melendez who earlier was named Big 12 Conference Player of the Year.

All five finalists for the Howser Trophy were consensus All-America selections. In addition to Melendez, was Oregon State pitcher Cooper Hjerpe, Tennesee third baseman Trey Lipscomb, Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada and Clemson third baseman Max Wagner.

The trophy keeps the memory alive of the former Kansas City Royals manager who served in the position from 1981-1987. Howser was the first manager to lead the Royals to a World Series Championship in 1985. The Royals connection to the trophy remains strong thanks to both former and current Royals players having been given the honor while in college.

Current KC Royals who have celebrated being named a Dick Howser Trophy winner include outfielder Andrew Benintendi and pitcher Brady Singer. Benintendi was named the 2015 winner as a sophomore centerfielder at Arkansas University. Singer won the honor in 2018 as a junior starting pitcher for Florida University. A former Royal won the trophy in 2005 as Alex Gordon claimed the honor in his home state. Gordon was a junior third baseman when he won the honor just miles away from Nebraska University.

The honor is voted on by NCBWA members who represent the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The 75th College Baseball World Series will end its 11 day run on June 27th but the fun started with the best in the game remembering one of the greats to ever play and coach the sport they love.