Aug. 13, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. - Former Arizona State infielder Jake Elmore became the 101st Sun Devil to play Major League Baseball after making his debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 11 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Elmore pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals and flew out to right field.
ASU is now tied with Texas and USC for the most MLB alums all-time, according to recent press releases by both schools that each claim 101 of their former players have reached the Major Leagues. Elmore is the second to debut this year as former Sun Devil outfielder and current Los Angeles Angel Kole Calhoun made his MLB debut this past May.
According to the College Baseball Hall of Fame, the Sun Devils have the third-most all-time Major League players behind the University of Southern California (107) and the University of Texas (106). ASU's major leaguers all debuted since 1963, while Texas (1908) and USC (1927) have a much longer history of sending players to the big leagues. Texas' list also includes three freshman-only players, while USC has five freshman-only players.
Twenty-six former Arizona State baseball players have made their MLB debuts since 2002, and Elmore is one of five Sun Devils from the 2008 team to appear in the Major Leagues, joining Ike Davis (New York Mets), Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians), Mike Leake (Cincinnati Reds) and Brett Wallace (Houston Astros). Other notables who have recently made their debuts include Jeff Larish in 2008, Travis Buck in 2007 and Mike Esposito in 2005.
The 101 players Arizona State has sent to the Major Leagues is the most of any school since 1959, the year baseball became a varsity sport at ASU, and ASU has had at least one major league player on their varsity roster from 1961 through 2010, which is the longest current streak in the nation. There are currently eight former Sun Devils on active Major League Baseball rosters, including Arizona Diamondback Willie Bloomquist, two-time All-Star Andre Ethier and 2008 American League Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia.
ASU produced an NCAA-best 10 selections in the recent 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, including five in the first five rounds for the first time in program history since 1984. Thirty-one Sun Devils have been taken in the MLB Draft in coach Tim Esmay's three seasons at ASU, which is the most of any Div. I school in that time span and five more than the next closest team, Florida.
Arizona State University and Sun Devil Athletics are planning a celebration to honor all 101 Major League players at the team's annual preseason banquet, which will be held early next year. The list of former Sun Devils who have played in the MLB include Floyd Bannister, Barry Bonds, Bob Horner, Reggie Jackson, Paul Lo Duca, Oddibe McDowell and Don Wakamatsu. Pete Lovrich was ASU's first Major Leaguer in 1963 and since then, former Sun Devils have won a combined nine Major League MVP awards and 53 Devils have appeared in the MLB All-Star Game.
Elmore, who was selected to the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game, was batting .344 (144-419) with 73 RBI and 95 runs scored for the Reno Aces before being called up on August 11. He also had 30 doubles and 32 stolen bases, and set a franchise record with a 31-game hitting streak earlier this season.
He was an infielder on the 2008 ASU team that went 49-13, including 16-8 in Pac-10 play, and won a Pac-10 Championship and hosted an NCAA Super Regional.
Elmore played two years at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala., and hit .428 (151-353) with 93 RBI in his two seasons there. He earned First Team All-Northern League and First Team All-Region honors in 2007 and was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 48th round (1,401st overall) of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft.
He was a 2005 graduate of Pleasant Grove High School in Pleasant Grove, Ala.