As the Sun Devils return from their three-game road trip against Cal, Arizona State University now needs to focus on finishing the second half of the season strong.
They will hopefully muster up the necessary bits of strength and continue battling through the spring in hopes to make their 23 appearance in the College World Series this summer. The Omaha tournament is the best of the best in NCAA Baseball; it’s March Madness in June for those that prefer dirt and pine tar to hardwood floors and sneakers.
With five National Championships under their belt, Sun Devil baseball has been a long and rich tradition in Arizona. Baseball at Packard Stadium is unique to Tempe and something that isn’t present in any other sports at ASU.
With that said, here are my Top Five Former Arizona State Baseball Players:
Winner of the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and 2008 AL MVP, Pedroia attended Arizona State — never batting below .374 in all 185 games.
This California native currently plays second base for the Boston Red Sox, batting .305, 54 home runs, 253 RBI’s, and was an All-Star selection for three consecutive years (2008 – 2010).
Chosen in the first round of the 1978 draft by the Atlanta Braves, Bob Horner was a first/third baseman who went on to have a great MLB career, despite beset with numerous leg injuries.
He continued to be a successful player who consistently hit well and averaged his 10-year career with a .277 batting average, 218 home runs, and 685 RBI’s. He was later inducted to College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, with others including Dave Winfield and Rob Ventura.
Making his professional debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1966, Sal Bando was a third baseman for both the Athletics (Kansas City and Oakland) and Milwaukee Brewers.
Over his career he had a batting average of .254, racked up 242 home runs, and 1039 RBI’s. He was selected to the All-Star team four times and won three consecutive World Series from 1972-1974.
Controversy aside, Barry Bonds is undoubtedly one of the most talented MLB players to emerge from Arizona State, and possibly in MLB history. With seven MVPs,
14 All-Star appearances, most intentional walks (688), and both the all time record for most home runs in a season (73) and career (762), numbers don’t lie. However, with his success came the controversy of steroid use in late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
He would eventually become the poster child for all steroid accusations that have since plagued Major League Baseball, and been the source of much heated debate in the sports world.
Nevertheless, all nay saying and drug banter aside, Bonds carried his amazing play as a Sun Devil into the professional field of play, staking out his mark in history.
Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson
Coined “Mr. October“, Reggie Jackson spent his early years as a Sun Devil before moving on to several other teams from 1967 – 1987, until he left the game with five National Championship (three with the Oakland Athletics and two with the New York Yankee’s).
With a career batting average of .262, he also tallied up 563 home runs, 2,584 hits, and 1,702 RBI’s. He was the definition of clutch and had a certain inability to fail when the time called for it. While with the Yankee’s, he was an unstoppable, home run machine — one that seemed to have the uncanny ability to blast a home run at will.