Sept. 19, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Former Arizona State Sun Devil baseball players Brooks Conrad and Chris Duffy started their professional baseball careers with a bang, both earning team MVP honors on their respective New York-Penn League baseball teams. Conrad played for the Pittsfield Astros and Duffy played for the Williamsport Crosscutters.
Duffy and Conrad, who ironically were both picked in the eighth round of the June Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, were nearly back-to-back selections in the annual draft. Duffy was the eighth round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates (234 overall), improving drastically from his 43rd round selection last year out of South Mountain JC. Conrad (Spring Valley, Calif.) was drafted two picks later (236 overall) by the Houston Astros.
Conrad hit .280 with 41 runs scored, 65 hits, 16 doubles, five triples and four home runs in his first professional season. Conrad, along with seven other team MVP's in the Astros' minor league system, will be honored at a special pre-game ceremony at Enron Field in Houston on Saturday, Sept. 22, when the Astros face the Chicago Cubs in a 7:05 game. Conrad was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, hit .278 with four home runs for ASU in 2001. In his three years with the storied ASU program, Conrad combined to hit .313 with 35 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs and 130 RBI.
Duffy hit .317 with 70 hits in 64 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates Single-A team in Williamsport, Penn. He tallied 12 doubles, four triples and one home run. During his only year in the Maroon and Gold, Duffy hit .372 in 2001 for the Sun Devils with four home runs and was named to the Pac-10 All-Conference team. Duffy has been invited to participate in the winter instructional league by the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.