|South Jersey Baseball History:
Baseball's All Stars of 2001
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
By Charlie Schick
Now that the 2002 baseball year is in full swing, lets take a quick look back at some of the outstanding baseball players of the past 2001 season. Many of these talented gentlemen helped carry their respective teams to championship seasons. Some distinguished themselves as individual league leaders and a few elite even etched their names into history's record books. But one thing is for sure, everyone listed upon these pages are true and deserving All-Star performers of 2001.
Like any All-Star squad, there always seems to be shouts of criticism for one's favorite player, son, friend or relative being excluded from the team. Be assured, as is always the practice with all selections and awards made by the Society, none of the above was or will ever be involved. With that said, here are our choices for the best of the best in both the big leagues and scholastic baseball.
Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks - This 6'10" giant southpaw is the most feared hurler in the game today. A 21-game winner last season with 372 strikeouts and an excellent 2.49 ERA. His overpowering fastball has rung-up 719 strikeouts over the last two seasons. He won his third straight Cy Young Award in 2001.
Frank Pilitowski, Delsea High - First Team All State Group III, All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. A strikeout specialist that won half his team's games with a 9-2 record. He possesses one of the top curveballs in the state and used it to fan 118 batters while producing an outstanding 1.45 ERA.
Curt Schilling, Arizona Diamondbacks - The top winner in the major leagues with 22 victories and a 2.98 ERA; both numbers better than the AL's best can offer. A real workhorse who hurled over 250 innings and posted 6 complete game outings. Consistently leads his team in inning pitched and complete game performances.
Jeff Mazzola, Gloucester Catholic High - Second Team All State, All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. Won all three of the Rams state tournament games that led to a State Parochial "B" championship. Finished his senior year with a perfect 13-0 mark, a 1.24 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 62 innings of work.
Ivan Rodriguez, Texas Rangers - Most fans and experts agree that Rodriguez is the games all around best catcher. A 10-time Gold Glove performer, who consistently throws out 60% of would be base-stealers. Has become a .300 hitter and 25 home run offensive threat.
Mike Ricci, Gloucester Catholic High Second Team All State, All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. One of the best backstops in the state. Excellent handler of pitchers that comes up big in key situations. Swings a potent bat that produced a .523 average with 6 round-tripper and 40 RBI. Outstanding team leader.
Jason Giambi, Oakland Athletics Is an offensive force with triple-crown potential. A true leader off and on the field of play. The 2000 year MVP once again this season in among the league's best performers in batting average (.342), slugging percentage (.660), home runs (38) and RBI (120).
Andrew Noe, Audubon High First Team All State, All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. Big 6'5" first baseman and pitcher in his senior year. Noe was the top power hitter in the state as he blasted 16 homers, tied South Jersey record with 55 RBI and a .470 average. As a pitcher finished 8-0 with a 2.29 ERA and 69 wiffs.
Bret Boone, Seattle Mariners - Another player that finished the year in the top 10 of batting average, RBI, slugging percentage and home runs. An excellent fielder that owns one Gold Glove award, and has now developed offensive skills to match. Finished 2001 with a .331 average, an American League all-time second baseman record 37 homers, and 141 RBI.
Todd Davison, St. Augustine High - First Team All State Parochial, All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. Only a junior, he is recognized as one of the best young mid-fielders in the state. Excellent range and double play execution skills. Line drive hitter with extra base power that ripped 11 doubles and 7 triples while hitting .483.
Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers - Not only a real gem in the field, but in all likelihood the greatest offensive shortstop in the major league history. This past season he set a big league record for shortstops with 52 home runs. His other season numbers included a .318 average and 135 RBI. A lifetime .300 hitter that has blasted 93 home runs over the last two years.
Phil Marino, Highland High - All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. A strong-armed shortstop that has quickness and leadership abilities. Team co-captain that led by example and offensively jump-started the Highland scoring attack. His final season produced a .456 average with 26 runs scored and 13 extra base hits.
Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves - Outstanding clutch-hitter that holds National League switch-hitter records for home runs and slugging percentage. Also consistently delivers 175-plus hits and a .300-plus average. Excellent power hitter that produces around 35 home runs and 100-plus RBI a year for the last 6 seasons.
Irv McFarland, Washington Township - First Team All State, All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. Solid fielder with excellent range plus one of the strongest and most accurate throwing arms in the area. Aggressive hitter that ripped 19 extra base hits with 29 RBI and a .520 batting average. A strong team leader.
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals - The surprise performer in the majors that produced outstanding offensive numbers as a rookie. Also a versatile quality player that can handle four positions without hurting his team defensively. National League Rookie of the Year.
Dane Mason, Cherokee High - Second Team All State Group IV, First Team All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. Extremely versatile player. Outstanding right-hand hurler, top-notch infielder and quality hitter with line drive power. Won 5 games on the mound with a terrific 1.51 ERA. A clutch performer.
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants - A 4-time Most Valuable Player that is considered the best player of the 1990's, he's like fine wine and gets better with age. Produced one of the greatest offensive years in history with all-time records of 73 home runs and a .863 slugging percentage. Also knocked in 137 RBI and had a .515 on base percentage.
Anthony Boscaglia, Sacred Heart - Third Team All State Parochial, First Team All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. A consistent near .400 hitter over his four-year scholastic career. Quality center fielder that has good range and rifle arm. Set school record with 51 RBI and .705 slugging percentage.
Luis Gonzalez, Arizona Diamondbacks - After producing personal offensive highs in 2000, he exploded for 57 home runs and 142 RBI. Without his bat, .325 batting average, and tremendous center-field defensive play, the Diamondbacks would have lost many low scoring games.
Ron Mancuso, West Deptford High - First Team All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. He is an outstanding defensive outfielder that did not commit an error. Extremely quick with a strong throwing arm. Also was strong offensively hitting an even .500 with 17 doubles in his banner senior season.
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners - Fundamentally one of the best all around major league player. Outstanding speed, strong throwing arm, hits to all fields and is a Gold Glove right fielder. The Super Rookie of the Year hit .350, led the major leagues with 242 hits and had 56 stolen bases.
Mark Saltzburg, Middle Township High - Third Team All State Group III, All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. A smart player that possessed leadership abilities. Top shelf outfielder with quickness and range to make him a solid defensive asset. Led by example and posted a .473 batting average.
Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs - Over the last four seasons has been a consistent 60 home runs a year producer. Outstanding hitter with runners in scoring position, as his 160 RBI signifies. Total offensive package showed a .328 average with 189 hits, 146 runs scored and 116 bases on balls.
Nate Schill, Audubon High - Second Team All State, First Team All Area and All South Jersey Team honoree. Multi-talented player that can handle a number of position including pitcher. Tied South Jersey record with 59 hits. Batted .488 with 14 doubles and 37 runs scored. Pitched to a 6-1 record.
Most Outstanding Player
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants - If the major leagues had this award he would probably be a 4-time Most Outstanding Player. His reputation for not always being the best teammate makes him more suited for an individual achievements recognition. His record-breaking season was one of a kind in big league history.
Andrew Noe, Audubon High - All Area and All South Jersey Baseball Player of the Year. Outstanding player both as a hitter and pitcher. The massive 6'5" athlete is a legitimate power hitter. He hit .470 with a South Jersey record tying 16 home runs, plus 55 RBI. Just as potent on the mound, he went 8-0 with a 2.29 ERA.
Most Valuable Player
Luis Gonzalez, Arizona Diamondbacks - Without his offense and defensive contributions, no World Championship for the Diamondbacks. His 57 home runs signify his power hitting ability, but his team play and clutch hitting separates him from the rest of the crowd. His hit delivered the winning run for the World Championship.
Mike Ricci, Gloucester Catholic - The stabilizing force that controlled the somewhat inexperienced pitching staff of the Rams. He set the tone of competitiveness for the whole squad. A true role model that led by example and the backbone of a championship team. A pure hitter that produced a senior year .523 average.
Manager of the Year
Larry Bowa, Philadelphia Phillies - A high spirited and intense leader that shows his emotions and love for the game openly. A firecracker personality that explodes with victory and positive achievements. He produced a winner with a number of young inexperienced players that threatened to take all the marbles in the National League.
Coach of the Year
Dennis Barth, Gloucester Catholic - With eight key members of his championship 33-1 team gone through graduation, Dennis faced one of his strongest challenges in his coaching career. To say the least, his team was expected to have a down season. His guidance, patience, long practices and just plain hard work turned his young Rams into South Jersey's #1 team and New Jersey #2 ball club.
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