OMAHA, Neb. — Oregon State’s Adley Rutschman was announced the 2019 Golden Spikes Award winner Thursday night at the inaugural MLB in Omaha game. Rutschman edged out 2018 winner Andrew Vaughn, Navy’s Noah Song and Vanderbilt’s JJ Bleday in the final vote for the award.
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Rutschman’s season ended before he got to play in Omaha, but he's been at TD Ameritrade plenty over the opening weekend of the 2019 College World Series. Two days after winning the Golden Spikes Award, Rutschman was presented the Dick Howser Trophy as the best collegiate baseball player in the land.
"I'm just fortunate enough to be out in Omaha a third time and get to experience it all," Rutschman told NCAA.com after the presentation. "I got to meet George Brett, Joe Torre, Miguel Cabrera came up and said hi. Being able to hear them talk and take it all in has been a blessing and I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity."
Rutschman is the first Oregon State player to win the illustrious award, and the ninth player in Pac-12 history to take home the hardware. He is the fourth full-time catcher to win the award, joining Jason Varitek in 1994, Buster Posey in 2008 and Mike Zunino in 2012. He also became the eighth Golden Spikes Award winner to go first overall in the MLB draft when he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles on June 3.
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What else did Rutschman accomplish in his time with Oregon State? Let's take a look at the sensational career of the 2019 Golden Spikes Award winner.
Rutschman went from the gridiron to the diamond
Before he was an All-American catcher for the Beavers, Rutschman wore a different uniform. After setting a record at his high school for kicking a 63-yard field goal, Rutschman began his collegiate career as one of the kickers for the Oregon State football team. On a memorable Nov. 5 afternoon in Stanford, California, Rutschman kicked off, and running directly at him was Christian McCaffery. While McCaffery went on to have a day in a nearly unstoppable performance, racking up 207 rushing yards, Rutschman stood his ground on that kickoff and took down the All-American running back.
“Baseball and football are so different, the experiences are so unique," Rutschman said. "The last one was the Civil War with Oregon, and we hadn’t beaten them in about nine years. We beat them, everyone stormed the field, and it was the end of my football days. It was a good way to go out.”
CWS Most Outstanding Player Adley Rutschman also played kicker on the football team his freshman year, and tackled Christian McCaffrey. pic.twitter.com/U7Y50wHC7c— CFB Gif'er (@CFBgifer) June 30, 2018
Adley's record book-stuffing run in the College World Series
Rutschman capped his unbelievable 2018 campaign by filling the record books in Omaha during Oregon State's run to the national championship. The Beavers catcher racked up 17 hits in their eight CWS games, breaking Southern California's Jason Lane's 20-year record of 15. He also found his way into ties for second place in RBIs (13) and total bases (26). Perhaps not surprisingly, Rutschman took home Most Outstanding Player honors for his contributions to the title, becoming the fifth catcher to do so.
Rutschman's place in Oregon State history
Rutschman had another monster season in 2019. He hit .411 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI, 57 runs scored and a Division I-best .575 on-base percentage. He was also one of the best defensive catchers in the nation, allowing just four passed balls, throwing out nearly 50-percent of attempted base runners and catching the pitching staff that finished with the second-best ERA in Division I baseball. He also set the school single-season record for walks with 76. It was just one of many he set for the Beavers in his time in Corvallis.
Last season, Rutschman set the single-season mark for hits with 102 and RBI with 83 while becoming the first player in school history to post back-to-back .400 seasons. He is in the Oregon State top five all-time for walks (156), hits (227), home runs (28), RBI (174), runs (151), and total bases (358).
His illustrious collegiate career ended with a phone call from the Baltimore Orioles as he was the first overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft.
“[What a] crazy couple of days," Rutschman said. "The craziest being about ten minutes before Baltimore was on the clock and starting to get the whirlwind of calls. About two minutes before they called my name, I finally kind of knew. It was fun."