OMAHA, Neb. — Texas’ Ivan Melendez was named the 44th winner of the Golden Spikes Award tonight in a live presentation during the College World Series Special on ESPN. Created in 1978, the Golden Spikes Award honors the top amateur baseball player in the United States based on their athletic ability, sportsmanship, character, and overall contribution to the sport.
Melendez is the first Longhorn to win the award in the program’s heralded history. Texas boasts the second-most Golden Spikes Award finalists all-time with 11 and is one of three schools to have a finalist in 11 different seasons. He is just the fourth player from the Big 12 Conference to win the coveted award and the first since Alex Gordon (Nebraska) took home the trophy in 2005. Jason Jennings (Baylor) also won the award in 1999, as well as Robin Ventura (Oklahoma State) in 1988.
“Ivan Melendez put together a season to remember for baseball fans,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “He became one of the most feared hitters in college baseball this year thanks to consistent and staggering power numbers, and he made every at-bat a must-see event. We are honored to celebrate Ivan and his record-breaking accomplishments by naming him our forty-fourth Golden Spikes Award winner.”
ABOUT: The ultimate guide to the Golden Spikes Award
Melendez finished his redshirt-junior season leading the nation in home runs (32), RBIs (94), slugging percentage (.863), and total bases (214), as well as landing in the top 10 in three other offensive categories: hits (96), on-base percentage (.508), and runs scored (75). He broke Texas’ regular-season home run record in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament after launching his 29th homer of the year. Melendez followed that up by breaking the BBCOR-era home run record set by fellow Golden Spikes Award winner Kris Bryant in 2013 with his 32nd during the Greenville Super Regional.
A consensus All-America selection, Melendez helped lead the Longhorns to Austin Regional and Greenville Super Regional titles, as well as their second-consecutive College World Series appearance and the third in the last four complete seasons.
Melendez was named the Big 12 Player of the Year after leading the Big 12 in six offensive categories: batting average (.421), home runs (28), RBIs (85), on-base percentage (.531), slugging percentage (.941), and OPS (1.472). Additionally, he earned conference Player of the Week a record five times throughout the regular season.
Melendez joins a group of past winners that include Kevin Kopps (2021), Adley Rutschman (2019), Andrew Vaughn (2018), Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
Golden Spikes Award winners have had tremendous success in the Major Leagues. Of the 43 previous winners, six earned Rookie of the Year honors, including Lewis in 2020. Additionally, three have won the Cy Young award, three were named MVP, and 11 have won a World Series championship as a player or manager, combining for 18 championships. Nineteen previous winners have also been named to at least one All-Star Game roster as a player or manager, combining for 59 total selections.
The award winner was selected through the distribution of ballots to a voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel and USA Baseball staff, and the previous winners of the award, totaling a group of more than 150 voters. Fan voting continued to be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2022 and contributed to the voting total.
Golden Spikes Award winners:
2022: Ivan Melendez - Texas
2021: Kevin Kopps - Arkansas
2019: Adley Rutschman - Oregon State
2018: Andrew Vaughn - California
2017: Brendan McKay - Louisville
2016: Kyle Lewis - Mercer
2015: Andrew Benintendi - Arkansas
2014: A.J. Reed - Kentucky
2013: Kris Bryant - San Diego
2012: Mike Zunino - Florida
2011: Trevor Bauer - UCLA
2010: Bryce Harper - Southern Nevada
2009: Stephen Strasburg - San Diego State
2008: Buster Posey - Florida State
2007: David Price - Vanderbilt
2006: Tim Lincecum - Washington
2005: Alex Gordon - Nebraska
2004: Jered Weaver - Long Beach State
2003: Rickie Weeks - Southern
2002: Khalil Greene - Clemson
2001: Mark Prior - Southern California
2000: Kip Bouknight - South Carolina
1999: Jason Jennings - Baylor
1998: Pat Burrell - Miami
1997: J.D. Drew - Florida State
1996: Travis Lee - San Diego State
1995: Mark Kotsay - Cal State Fullerton
1994: Jason Varitek - Georgia Tech
1993: Darren Dreifort - Wichita State
1992: Phil Nevin - Cal State Fullerton
1991: Mike Kelly - Arizona State
1990: Alex Fernandez - Miami Dade CC
1989: Ben McDonald - LSU
1988: Robin Ventura - Oklahoma State
1987: Jim Abbott - Michigan
1986: Mike Loynd - Florida State
1985: Will Clark - Mississippi State
1984: Oddibe McDowell - Arizona State
1983: Dave Magadan - Alabama
1982: Augie Schmidt - New Orleans
1981: Mike Fuentes - Florida State
1980: Terry Francona - Arizona
1979: Tim Wallach - Cal State Fullerton
1978: Bob Horner - Arizona State