April 23, 2001
**The Following is an article reprinted with permission by Dana Heiss Grodin and Baseball Weekly. The article appeared in the baseball publication in early April**
Arizona State catcher Casey Myers takes the term "student-athlete" to an entirely different level.
A single "B" in economics ruined the senior's straight-A average at Arizona State.
In fact, Myers is such a numbers whiz that he took the SAT as a high school freshman and scored a perfect 800 in math.
He ended up majoring in mathematics and eco-nomics. Four years after graduating first in his high school class, Myers leaves Arizona State in May with the highest honors.
Myers is also spending his senior season writing his name in the Pacific-10 record books.
"Casey understands the game like no other player," Sun Devils head coach Pat Murphy says. "Last year we won the conference championship with a lot of special players, and Casey was like four or five players combined. We won it because of Casey."
Myers was named Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2000 after batting .412 with a career-high 18 home runs and 97 RBI. He also hit 19 doubles and struck out just 24 times in 238 at-bats.
His hot bat is a main reason why Arizona State has remained in the Top 10 since January. Through Sunday, Myers is hitting .418 with eight doubles, four home runs and a team-high 43 RBI.
Myers needs just 35 more RBI to break the school and conference career records held by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink.
Myers' value to Arizona State goes beyond his power to the opposite field. He's also among a small group of college catchers entrusted to call every game.
"People had told me that Myers could call pitches, and I didn't believe them," Murphy says. "I didn't think he'd do this great of a job."
Although his math proficiency makes him a numbers guy, he doesn't care much for analyzing his baseball statistics. He uses his intelligence to memorize pitches.
"I can go into the sixth and seventh innings and remember every pitch sequence I've called in the game," Myers says.
He wears the same No. 22 his father, Clint Myers, wore when he caught for the Sun Devils in the early 1970s. After spending time in the St. Louis farm system, Clint settled into a coaching career, building strong softball and baseball programs at Central Arizona College.
Myers' close-knit family also includes younger brother Corey, a shortstop who finished his prep career with an Arizona state-record 43 home runs. The brothers were set to become teammates until Corey was selected fourth overall by the hometown Diamondbacks in the June 1999 draft.
Casey didn't have the same success when he had his turn at the draft one year later.
"The draft is a crapshoot," says Myers, a 30th-round selection of the Brewers in 2000. "You really don't know what's going to happen. I didn't really expect too much, and I wasn't too worried about it because I knew if things didn't work out I would go back to school."
The combination of brains and brawn hasn't exactly made professional baseball drool with excitement. He's been knocked for lacking arm strength and speed.
Having strong academic credentials also affected his draft status. Some teams expressed concern that Myers would abandon a baseball career prematurely for future education endeavors if he began to struggle in the pros.
"I told them I was willing to stick with baseball for at least eight to 10 years," Myers says. "And if you look at the strengths of catchers in the major leagues, you'll see that arm strength is definitely something that can be worked on."
Murphy predicts Myers won't last past the 10th round in the upcoming June draft.
"I think teams see what he can bring to the table. They've seen what he can do with a pitching staff, and anyone who has watched him hit here and in exhibition games using wood bats knows he can hit with power."
Although Myers has a scholarship to attend Arizona State's graduate school, he plans to delay enrollment for as long as it takes to pursue his big-league dreams.
Eventually, Myers could wind up on a campus near you as a math professor or baseball coach. Or both.
Says Murphy, "There's no limit to what he can do."