Sights and Sounds
06/24/2005 1:05 PM ET
Gordon wins Golden Spikes Award
By DEAN GOLEMBESKI / MLBPLAYERS.com
Alex Gordon was taken with the second overall pick by the Royals in this year's First-Year Player Draft. (Scott Bruhn/University of Nebraska)
He was No. 2 in this month's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, but for those who follow amateur baseball, Alex Gordon was second to no one this year.
Gordon, the outstanding third baseman for the University of Nebraska, capped a memorable season Friday by being named the winner of the 2005 Golden Spikes Award, a prestigious honor presented by USA Baseball to the top amateur player annually since 1978.
The presentation of the award, which is sponsored by the Major League Baseball Players Association, will be held at a later date to be determined.
A two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, Gordon is the first player from the University of Nebraska to win the Golden Spikes Award.
The junior from Lincoln, Neb., led his team to the College World Series and a school-record 57 wins. The team, 57-15 overall, entered the College World Series as the No. 2 ranked team in the country, but was knocked out of the tournament in an 11-inning, 8-7 loss to Arizona State.
Gordon finished the season with a .372 batting average, 79 runs and 94 hits, including 22 doubles and 19 home runs. He also had 63 walks, 66 RBIs, a .715 slugging percentage and a .518 on-bas percentage. He led Nebraska in runs, hits, home runs, walks slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
In the Big 12, he ranked in the top 10 in all 12 offensive categories: runs (1st), walks (1st), on-base percentage (.518, 1st), slugging percentage (.715, 1st), doubles (22, 1st), total bases (181, 1st), batting average (2nd), hits (2nd), homers (2nd), RBIs (4th), stolen bases (7th) and triples (8th).
A deadly hitter when the game is on the line, Gordon says: "When I get into those situations, I thrive on that. I want to be the guy who gets the big hit. It's all about confidence. I think that I've had it all my life, but I've developed it. It's gotten better over the years."
In addition to winning the Golden Spikes Award and being picked No. 2 by the Kansas City Royals in the First-Year Player Draft, Gordon was also named a first-team All-American for a second consecutive year and was the winner of the Xanthus-Dick Howser Trophy, which is presented annually by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association to the top player. He's also a finalist for the Brooks Wallace College Player of the Year Award, and if he wins it, he will complete a sweep of collegiate baseball's top awards.
"I don't think about awards," said Gordon when he was asked earlier this season about his many achievements. "I just try to put some numbers up and help the team out the best I can, and those awards will come."
"USA Baseball is extremely proud to honor Alex Gordon of the University of Nebraska with the 2005 Golden Spikes Award," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. "Alex's tremendous collegiate career in which he dominated the Big 12 Conference certainly proves he was worthy of this award.
"We're also excited that Alex played such an instrumental role in helping Team USA capture the gold medal at the 2004 FISU World University Championship last summer, and we're very happy for the Cornhusker baseball program and their head coach, Mike Anderson."
Following the first-ever presentation of the award to Bob Horner of Arizona State in 1978, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. The 2004 winner was Jered Weaver of Long Beach State University, who recently signed with the Angels.
USA Baseball is the national governing body of amateur baseball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. Among the teams it selects and trains are the USA Baseball Olympic Team and the USA Baseball National Team.
Dean Golembeski is a freelance writer based in Connecticut.