Oct. 3, 2006
Minneapolis, MN - Two former Cal State Fullerton Golden Spikes Award winners make their first-career appearance in the postseason as the Oakland A's and the Minnesota Twins kick off the American League Division Series Tuesday morning at the Metrodome.
Among active players, Mark Kotsay's 1,284 games played without a post-season appearance, ranked seventh in the bigs. The former Titan centerfielder posted a slightly down year from his career averages, hitting .275 with seven home runs and 59 RBI. He did however set a career-high with a .993 fielding percentage roaming centerfield at the spacious McAfee Coliseum in Oakland.
Kotsay earned the Golden Spikes Award (National Player of the Year) in 1995 after hitting .422 with 21 home runs and 90 RBI for the Titans, leading them to the school's third national championship with a 57-9 overall record. Kotsay was a career .404 hitter with 45 home runs and 216 RBI in his three years in pinstripes.
The three-time All-American was named Player of the Decade by Baseball America for the 1990s. Among Kotsay's other amateur accomplishments, he was also a two-time Big West Conference Player of the Year, a College World Series MVP and a US Olympian in 1996. The lefty was a first-round draft pick by the Florida Marlins in 1996.
After 12 seasons, 1,217 games, with stops in Houston, Detroit, Anaheim, San Diego, Texas and Chicago and now Minnesota, journeyman Phil Nevin is making his first post-season appearance with the Twins.
The 35-year-old joined the Twins on Aug. 31 after the Chicago Cubs, in the basement of the National League Central, traded the slugger to contending Minnesota, making it his third team of the 2006 campaign. Despite living out of a suitcase, the veteran hit 22 home runs, upping his career total to 209, and drove in 68. The career-.270 stick hit .274 for Chicago, but on the season, is hit just .239.
A Titan from 1990-92, Nevin posted a .364 career average in college, hitting 39 homers while driving in 184 at Fullerton. The third baseman won the team's triple crown, in 1992 blasting 22 bombs, hitting .402 while picking up 86 RBI, earning him All-American Honors as well as the 1992 Golden Spikes Award. And, despite a 3-2 loss to Pepperdine in the championship game at the College World Series, Nevin earned the CWS MVP.
Nevin was the Big West Conference Player of the year in 1992, and like Kotsay was an Olympian for Team USA that same year. He was the Titan's fifth overall No. 1 draft pick when he was selected by the Houston Astros in 1992.