DURHAM, N.C. – Louisville’s Brendan McKay was named the 40th USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winner on Thursday, honoring the top amateur baseball player in the United States based on their athletic ability, sportsmanship, character and overall contribution to the sport. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 2017 award was presented live on ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter, by George Grande, who anchored the first-ever SportsCenter telecast on September 7, 1979.
McKay is the first Golden Spikes Award winner in Louisville’s history and the fifth ACC player to win the award following Jason Varitek (1994), J.D. Drew (1997), Khalil Greene (2002) and Buster Posey (2008). He is the eighth player from a current ACC program to earn the honor after Florida State’s Mike Fuentes (1981) and Mike Loynd (1986), and Miami’s Pat Burrell (1998) won the award prior to their schools joining the ACC. The Golden Spikes Award was the sixth National Player of the Year honor McKay received in addition to being named the 2017 ACC Player of the Year.
“Brendan McKay has proven to be the epitome of a two-way player with his success on the mound and at the plate this year, and we are elated to honor his tremendous season by naming him the recipient of the fortieth Golden Spikes Award,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. “All four of these young athletes had noteworthy seasons and we are honored to celebrate their accomplishments with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation at its annual awards dinner. We look forward to following these young men as they begin the next chapter of their baseball careers.”
McKay held an 8-3 record with a 2.22 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 85.0 innings on the mound during the regular season. During his three-year collegiate career, McKay has accumulated a 32-10 record with a 2.23 ERA and 391 strikeouts, the most ever for a Louisville pitcher. At the plate, he maintained a .341 batting average, 18 home runs, 15 doubles, 51 RBIs and a .457 on-base percentage as a hitter this season. In 182 career starts and 189 total appearances as a hitter, McKay has a .328 career batting average with 28 home runs, 48 doubles and 132 RBIs.
The two-way standout was a consensus All-America in both 2016 and 2017. He led Louisville to its first NCAA World Series appearance since 2014 this season, was an All-ACC selection in each of his three seasons, and was named the National Freshman of the Year by three publications in 2015.
Following the nationally televised announcement of the winner on June 29, all four finalists and their families will be celebrated at the Jonathan Club Los Angeles as part of the 2017 Rod Dedeaux Foundation Awards Dinner. Hosted by the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the dinner will honor the Golden Spikes Award finalists, the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Augie Garrido, and the 2016 Rod Dedeaux USA Baseball Coach of the Year award winner, George Horton (Oregon).
The winner was selected after the list of finalists was sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting committee, a collection of more than 200 voters that include past Golden Spikes Award winners, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media highly attuned within the amateur baseball landscape, select professional baseball personnel, and select USA Baseball staff members.
For the tenth consecutive year, fans were also able to get involved with the award voting by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com, powered by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM). The website features content devoted exclusively to the Golden Spikes Award, including news, voting history, past-winner photo galleries and photographs of the 2017 finalists.
About Golden Spikes Award
Since 1978, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. Following the first-ever presentation of the Award to Bob Horner of Arizona State, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. The 2016 Golden Spikes Award winner was Kyle Lewis from Mercer University. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Andrew Benintendi (’15), Kris Bryant (’13), Mike Zunino (’12), Trevor Bauer (’11), Bryce Harper (’10), Stephen Strasburg (’09), Buster Posey (’08), David Price (’07), Tim Lincecum (’06), and Alex Gordon (’05). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Pat Burrell (’98), Mark Kotsay (’95), Robin Ventura (’88), Jim Abbott (’87), Will Clark (’85), Dave Magadan (’83), Terry Francona (’80), Tim Wallach (’79), and Horner (’78). For more information, please visit GoldenSpikesAward.com. Fans can follow the Golden Spikes Award on Twitter @USAGoldenSpikes.
About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, Olympic, Premier12 and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year. The organization is responsible for the continued proliferation and health of the sport, and leads a number of amateur initiatives including PLAYBALL and Pitch Smart. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit the organization’s official websites: USABaseball.com, USABaseball.Education, PLAYBALL.org, PitchSmart.org, GoldenSpikesAward.com and USABaseballShop.com.