The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced the 10 semi-finalists for the Third Annual Johnny Bench Award. This award is presented annually at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet to the nation's top collegiate catcher, as voted on by a panel of sportswriters, sportscasters, Division coaches and professional scouts.
The 10 semi-finalists in alphabetical order are John Baker (Jr., California), Steve Booth (Sr., San Francisco), Jeremy Brown (Sr., Alabama), Alberto Concepcion (Jr., USC), Ryan Garko (Jr., Stanford), Chris Hamblen (Jr., Cincinnati), Tyler Parker (Jr., Georgia Tech), Brian Rose (Jr., Florida), Adam Shorsher (Sr., San Jose State) and Chris Snyder (Jr., Houston).
A committee representing national sportswriters, sportscasters and scouts, narrowed the watch list of 32 catchers down to 10 semi-finalists. The three finalists will be announced next week at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The winner of the 2002 Johnny Bench Award will be announced at the 5th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 25 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Wichita.
Brown was a finalist for the 2001 Johnny Bench Award, finishing runner up to Baylor's Kelly Shoppach. Former LSU catcher Brad Cresse was the inaugural winner in 2000.
Brown started all 66 games for Alabama this season and batted .320 (70-for-219) with 11 home runs and 64 RBI. Defensively, Brown handled 471 chances and made only one error, compiling a .998 fielding percentage. In addition, Brown threw out 42.9 percent of opposing base stealers this season and added seven pickoffs.
"Jeremy Brown has been a very special player for us both on and off the field," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "He is a fantastic baseball player and a great young man. Jeremy is the top catcher in the best league in America."
The Hueytown, Ala., native was a First-Team All-SEC selection for the second consecutive year. He was also named the 2002 Hormel Foods Classic All-Tournament team and the 2002 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional All-Tournament team.
Brown concluded his career as the Alabama record holder for games played (251), games started (251), runs scored (244), RBI (230), walks (207) and putouts (1,660). He is the only player in SEC history with 300 career hits and 200 career walks.
In 2001, Brown became only the second player in school history to not make an error in the field. Over the last two years, Brown has handled 801 chances and committed only one error (.999). From May 27, 2000 through April 5, 2002, Brown successfully handled 608 chances without an error. He also handled 444 chances without an error during his freshman season.