No. 1 Rays pick earns honor as college's best

Published June 16, 2007

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce has presented the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top college player for 21 years. But Friday was the first time it was presented to a player expected to soon be playing in St. Petersburg.

Vanderbilt pitcher David Price, the Devil Rays' top pick in the recent draft, was announced as the winner, as chosen by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and the chamber committee, prior to the start of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

"It was a Tampa Bay kind of day, " Price, 21, said by telephone. "It's definitely a great feeling to add my name to the list of people that have won this award. I never thought I'd be in that group."

Award committee chairman David Feaster introduced Price, as he has many of the other winners, such as J.D. Drew, Mark Teixeira and Mark Prior. But this time, he wore his Devil Rays tie.

"This award is the Heisman Trophy of college baseball, and the integrity of our award is very important, " Feaster said. "To have a potential Devil Ray win is fantastic, and he's a quality kid. I will be proud to have my family root for him."

Price's name will be added to the permanent trophy, which will be on display at the Trop. Price could be there in a year or two.

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said contract talks are ongoing but the update is "pretty boring." Price said he is letting adviser Bo McKinnis do the talking: "I really have no idea what's happening."