Brown a finalist for Johnny Bench Award

OMAHA, Neb. -- For the second consecutive year, University of Alabama senior catcher Jeremy Brown is one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award.

The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced today the three finalists for the 2002 Johnny Bench Award. Brown joins Southern California junior Alberto Concepcion and Houston's junior Chris Snyder as the three finalists.

A final vote among the national selection committee will occur this week at the College World Series. All three finalists will attend the 5th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 25, 2002 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Bench, a member of the 1975 and 1976 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds and major league baseball Hall of Famer, will be on hand to present the award. Former Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey will be this year's keynote speaker.

"The Johnny Bench Award has been embraced by the collegiate baseball community and we are very excited about the support we have received from around the country, Bob Hansen, President and CEO of the Greater Wichita Sports Commission, said. "It is out privilege to honor the young men that devote themselves to the most grueling position in the game of baseball.

"Jeremy Brown was a finalist last year and he certainly had another outstanding year this season," Hanson added. "We have already contacted Jeremy and his parents and are glad they will be joining us for the banquet once again. We are excited about our candidates this again this year."

Brown, a native of Hueytown, Ala., appeared in 66 games for Alabama this season and compiled a .320 (70-for-219) with 11 home runs and 64 RBI. He also set the UA single season record with 69 walks, surpassing the previous total of 66 walks held by Bret Elbin in 1983.

Brown made only one error for Alabama in is final 119 games at the Capstone. He set the UA single-season record with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 2001 and made only one error this year, compiling a .998 fielding clip. He also was second in the SEC with seven pickoffs and ranked among the league leaders by throwing out 43 percent of his attempted base stealers.

A first-round pick of the Oakland Athletics, Brown concluded his UA career as the all-time leader for games played (251), games started (251), runs scored (244), walks (207) and putouts (1,660). He is the only player in SEC history with 300 career hits (307) and 200 career walks (207).

In addition, Brown was named Second-Team All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association and was a First-Team All-SEC pick for the second consecutive year. He was also the NCBWA District III Player of the Year and a finalist for the 2002 Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Verizon.

Concepcion (6-1, 220, El Segundo, Calif.) led USC in several offensive categories this season, including hitting (.363), hits (85), doubles (21), triples (5), total bases (149) and on-base percentage (.466).

The 2002 Pac 10 Player of the Year, Concepcion was a Second-Team All-America selection by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox.

Snyder (6-3, 224, Houston) batted .348 (79-for-227) for the Cougars this season with 15 home runs and UH single-season record 71 RBI. He made only seven errors in 567 chances (.988) behind the plate and was a Second-Team All-Conference USA selection. Snyder was also a second-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

LSU's Brad Cresse won the inaugural award in 2000, while Baylor's Kelly Shoppach was the 2001 Johnny Bench Award winner.

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