LUBBOCK, Texas The College Baseball Foundation has announced its 2009 Preseason Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List, which includes Evansville’s Greg Wallace and Illinois State’s Kevin Tokarski. The Wallace Award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
University of Evansville sophomore outfielder Greg Wallace earned 2008 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America status last spring after pacing the Purple Aces and leading all Missouri Valley Conference freshmen in both hitting and extra-base hits with a .317 average, 17 doubles, two triples, and two home runs. Wallace pounded out a team-best 64 base hits in 52 games played, while becoming the first freshman to lead Evansville in hitting since Ryan Brownlee did so in 1994. Wallace ranked among the MVC’s leaders in doubles during the regular-season with 17, while also ranking among the Valley’s best defensively with nine outfield assists as UE’s starting left fielder.
Illinois State University sophomore Kevin Tokarski earned freshman All-America recognition in 2008 after hitting .303 and swiping 32 bases on the season. Tokarski was second among Redbirds with 46 runs scored and 61 hits, and led Illinois State defensively with 144 assists while starting at shortstop.
The Wallace Award is dedicated to the memory of former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace. Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Texas Tech from 1977-80. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and all-district his senior year. He led the Red Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980.
After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death March 24, 1985, at age 27.
Past winners of the award include Buster Posey (Florida State - '08), David Price (Vanderbilt - '07), Brad Lincoln (Houston - '06), Alex Gordon (Nebraska - '05) and Kurt Suzuki (Cal-State Fullerton '04).