Tony Thomas, Jr. named Howser Trophy finalst

The junior second baseman was also drafted in the third round by the Chicago Cubs.

Talk about a day to remember. In a span of a couple hours on Thursday, June 7, Tony Thomas, Jr. was named a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy as well as drafted in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

Thomas was named one of four finalists for the 21st annual Dick Howser Trophy, presented to college baseball's Player of the Year, as announced by the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).

Joining Thomas as a finalist for this award are Vanderbilt pitcher David Price, Texas outfielder Kyle Russell and Rice pitcher, first baseman Joe Savery. One member of the quartet will be named the winner at a national news conference on Friday, June 15 at 10:00 am (CDT) at the Omaha Press Club in Omaha, Neb.

The Howser Trophy, regarded by many as college baseball's most prestigious award, was created in memory of the former Florida State All-America shortstop, major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987. J.D. Drew is the lone Florida State recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy winning the award in 1997.

This season Thomas has been recognized as National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and Rivals.com as well as being named a first-team All-American by Louisville Slugger and Rivals.com. Thomas is also a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and a quarterfinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award.

In 2007, the Valrico, Fla. native earned first team All-ACC honors, was a member of the ACC All-Tournament team and received ACC Player of the Year accolades. Thomas currently leads the league in seven statistical categories and is ranked in the top 10 in four others. He holds the top spot in the ACC in batting average (.430), hits per game (1.79), runs scored per game (1.47), doubles per game (0.53), total bases per game (3.05), on base percentage (.522) and slugging percentage (.733). In addition, Thomas is second in stolen bases per game (0.50), third in triple per game (0.10), eighth in home runs per game (0.18) and ninth in walks per game (0.69). At the ACC Tournament in Jacksonville, the right hander became the first Seminole player to register 30 doubles, 100 hits and 30 stolen bases in a single-season.

Later Thursday evening, the good news continued to pour in for Thomas as he was selected with the third pick in the third round, 97th overall, in the Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs. A member of the Cubs organization called the junior second baseman moments before the start of the third round informing Thomas that he would be selected by Chicago.

"This is just a lifetime dream come true," said Thomas on being drafted. "Playing baseball professionally is something that I have always dreamed about and now it's a reality. I am really excited about the opportunity to play for the Cubs organization."

Thomas becomes the 48th Seminole in school history to be selected in the top 100 of the MLB Draft. He is the highest draft pick to come out of Florida State since 2004 when Stephen Drew and Eddy Martinez-Esteve were selected in the first and second rounds, respectively. That year Drew was drafted with the 15th overall pick by the Arizona Diamondback, while the San Francisco Giants selected Martinez-Esteve in the second round with the 70th overall selection.
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