2002-03 Honor Roll: Ryan Garko

The Bootleg announces the first of the 10 winners of our Honor Roll award, and his name is Ryan Garko. As everyone knows, Garko had a monstrous season, leading the Cardinal in most offensive categories in what could be debated as the best ever season by a Stanford hitter. Didn't hurt that he was an inspirational leader and dominating defensive player...

In the May/June issue of The Bootleg Magazine (re-published on TheBootleg.com in late-June), we introduced The Bootleg Honor Roll and also released a list of 30 finalists for this award for the 2002/2003 school-year. Here is a link to that story.

The criteria are as follows:

Each academic year, The Bootleg's Honor Roll will recognize the top ten Stanford student-athletes who have performed at an exceptional level, with athletic accomplishments that are both extraordinary and inspirational. While achieving athletic success, these athletes should also have displayed uncommon leadership, sportsmanship and respect towards their fellow teammates and opponents. Finally, these honorees' performances and actions should also demonstrate their love for their particular sport as well as their school pride, the famed "Spirit of Stanford."

During the month of July, we will be releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one.

Baseball catcher Ryan Garko (Walnut, CA) is our first winner. After going un-drafted as a junior, Ryan dropped 15 pounds, greatly improved his defense and recorded one of the best all-around seasons in the proud history of the Stanford baseball program. Garko led the Cardinal to its third College World Series runner-up finish in the last four seasons and an overall record of 51-18 in 2003 (third-best on the school's all-time list). He became only the sixth Stanford player to bat over .400 for a season, finishing at .402. Remarkably, Ryan finished the season with more homers (18) than strikeouts (17). The 18 homeruns rank #8 on the all-time Stanford single-season list. Further, his 92 RBI tied the single season Stanford record set by Rick Lundblade in 1985. Garko also lead the team in doubles (24, tied with Carlos Quentin), total bases (182), slugging percentage (.703) and extra-base hits (42). He also ranked second on the club in hits (104).

Garko was deservedly named the winner of the Fourth Annual Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher. Garko was also the Co-Pac-10 Player of the Year, a First Team All-American, Regional Most Outstanding Player and All-College World Series selection in 2003. For the week ending May 4, he was named Pac-10 and College Baseball Insider West Regional Player of the Week.

Garko was drafted in the 3rd round (#78 overall) by the Cleveland Indians. (Hey, what's with their mascot name?)

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