Dec. 31, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. - As we count down the final days of 2008, TheSunDevils.com and Arizona State Baseball countdown the Top 12 Sun Devil Baseball moments of 2008.
#2- Former Devil Dustin Pedroia Makes His Mark on Major League Baseball
Dustin Pedroia has been told his entire life that is too small and not athletic enough to find success in baseball. He proved people wrong at Woodland High School in Woodland, California and earned a scholarship to Arizona State. He proved people wrong at ASU, winning Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, All-American honors, First Team All-Pac-10 selections three times and was twice named the National Defensive Player of the Year. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the second round in 2004 and was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 2007 and won the World Series with the Red Sox, sweeping the Colorado Rockies.
Pedroia followed that up by turning in one of the most memorable seaons in Major League history. He batted .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI in 157 games. He also led the majors with 54 doubles, tied for first with Seattle's Ichiro with 213 hits, and ranked second with 118 runs and 61 multi-hit games, both A.L. highs. He started at second base for the American League in the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium and also helped the Red Sox win the American League Wild Card and advance to the American League Championship Series.
The end of the season brought on the accolades for the Bosox second baseman. First, he was named the American League Gold Glove winner at second base, then the American League Silver Slugger at second. His offseason culminated on November 18, when he was named the American League Most Valuable Player. Pedroia received 16 of the 28 first place votes in balloting conducted by two writers from each of the 14 American League cities.
He accepted the award on Arizona State University's campus at a press conference at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. It marked the ninth time a Sun Devil was named MVP. Pedroia joins Barry Bonds (seven times) and Reggie Jackson as Sun Devils to be named the Most Valuable Player. While at ASU he had a .384 batting average while starting all 185 games in his three seasons with the team.
Pedroia's offseason was capped off when he was invited to play for the United States in the second World Baseball Classic, to be held this March.