On Januay 28, 2017 the Association of Professional Ballplayers of America will hold its 92nd Annual Dinner and Get-Together at the Grand Event Center in Long Beach and will present its awards for outstanding play during the 2016 season by Southern California residents.
The Chuck Stevens award is presented for the most outstanding minor league player from Southern California in 2016. The award is in honor of the long time Secretary of the Association who held that post for 38 years and enjoyed a playing career of over twenty years which included several years with the Hollywood Stars.. Previous award winners have been Keith Ginter, Sean Burroughs, Ryan Madson, Greg Jacobs, Jeremy Reed, Jerry Owens, Jason Hirsh, Evan Longoria, Josh Vitters, Tommy Hanson, Thomas Neal, Freddie Freeman, Brett Pill, Christian Bergman, Kyle Hendricks, Kevin Pillar and Ryan McMahon.
This year’s winner is CHASE DE JONG, a pitcher in the Los Angeles Dodger organization. A native of Long Beach, Chase was drafted in the second round of the 2012 out of Wilson High School by the Toronto Blue Jays. He was traded to the Dodgers in July, 2015 and was sent to Rancho Cucamonga. Chase spent the 2016 season in Tulsa of the Texas League and posted a 14-5 record with a 2.86 ERA. He won more games than any other pitcher in the Texas League, and held opposing hitters to a .188 batting average. Chase was recently promoted to the Dodgers’ 40 man roster. He will probably start the 2017 season at Triple A Oklahoma City and is very likely to make his major league debut sometime this year.
The Win Clark award is presented to the most outstanding first year player in Southern California. This year’s winner is JEREMY MARTINEZ of the St. Louis Cardinal organization. A graduate of Mater Dei High School, Jeremy was drafted out of USC in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. A catcher, Jeremy began his career at State College in the short season New York-Penn League. He batted .325 to finish second in the league and caught 57 games. He will probably begin the 2017 season at Low A Peoria with a mid-season promotion to High A Palm Beach very likely.
The Clark award is in honor of a long-time Secretary of the Association and has been given each year since 1951 when Lee Walls was the first to receive the honor. Among the recipients are Tony Gwynn, Willie Davis, Jim Lefebvre, Mark Grace, Tim Wallach, Steve Kemp, Carlos Quentin and Jeff Cirillo, all of whom have enjoyed significant major league careers.
The winner of the Sledgebat Award this year is MICKEY MONIAK of the Philadelphia Phillies organization. After a stellar high school career as the best outfielder in the state of California, Mickey was selected as the first player in the 2016 draft by the Phillies. He began his career with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in Clearwater and hit .284 in spite of an injury. He will begin the 2017 season at Low A Lakewood and is projected to move rapidly through the Phillies organization.
The Association is a benevolent organization, which was founded in 1924 by twelve active professional ballplayers. Its sole mission is to provide financial assistance for the ill and indigent players, coaches, managers, scouts and clubhouse Since its founding, the Association has helped over 3,600 former players with total assistance in excess of $5,000,000.. The Association is a firm supporter of ball players continuing their education and offers tuition discounts for online courses at the University of Phoenix for qualified members.
For more information, contact Dick Beverage, Secretary/Treasurer at (714) 528-2012.
Association of Professional Ball Players of America 3260 N. Hayden Road, Suite 108 Scottsdale, AZ 85251