The MLB Rookie of The Year Award — in both leagues — represents the future for teams and the sport. The winners may become the next faces of the game, at least in their respective cities.
Many stars, including Buster Posey, Albert Pujols and Derek Jeter have been won rookie honors. But did you know seven ROY winners came from D2 schools?
Here they are:
Bill Virdon — Drury
The first player from D2 roots to ever win the Rookie of The Year did so with the St. Louis Cardinals back when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn.
Bill Virdon attended Drury, a local school just three hours or so West of Busch Stadium in St. Louis. From there, he went on to have a wonderful MLB career that spanned 12 seasons with a three year break from 1965-68.
After winning the ROY for the NL, the former Panther star also won a World Series title in 1960 with the Pirates off of Bill Mazeroski's legendary home run, and five times hit 10 or more triples in one season.
Lou Piniella — Tampa
Winning the AL Rookie of The Year five years after his initial debut with the Orioles in 1964, Piniella became a household name through his career spanning until 1984.
Winning the award with Kansas City and later moving on to become a fixture of two Yankees World Series titles in 1977 and '78, the former Tampa Spartan hit over .300 in seven of his big league seasons.
But the Tampa native who went to school in Tampa as well, completed the circle back home when he became a manager and wound down his career managing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 2003-2005 before ending it with the Cubs after previous stops in New York, Cincinnati, and Seattle.
Piniella also won Manager of The Year three times.
Al Bumbry — Virginia State
A former Trojan who went on to a good career with the Orioles, Bumbry was an excellent outfielder who also sometimes worked as the DH during his rookie year, leading the league with 11 three-baggers and establishing a career high in batting average.
While power was never his strong suit, the former VSU player was a consisteny hitter, even topping 200 hits during the 1980 campaign when he made his only All Star Game appearance.
Not winning the award until he was 26, Bumbry is a great example that it is never too late to get going on what turned into an excellent career.
Mike Hargrove — Northwestern Oklahoma State
Winning the AL award in 1974, Hargrove made it two-straight seasons in which a D2 alum won that award following Bumbry before him.
The former NWOSU product jolted his career with the Rangers as being the best rookie in the league, then becoming one of the more patient hitters at the plate when he twice led the league in walks drawn.
Hargrove is another former D2 player to win the award and then turn to coaching, lasting 16 seasons as a manager with various American League clubs including the Indians, Orioles, and Mariners.
Hargrove was the coach for both of Cleveland's appearances in the World Series in the nineties, and won 1188 games in his career.
Eddie Murray — Cal State Los Angeles
One of the greatest switch-hitters to ever play the game, Eddie Murray is undoubtedly the biggest star in our collection of D2 alum. The former CSLA standout claimed his ROY award in 1977 with Baltimore and went on to a masterful career over 20 years.
An eight-time All Star, three-time Gold Glover, and three-time Silver Slugger, 'Steady Eddie' was one of the premier talents at first base and all the diamond from 1977-97 when he played for the O's, Dodgers, Indians, Mets, and Angels.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, Murray also finished in the top five of MVP voting on six occasions, and served as the influence for many players growing up to give switch-hitting a try.
John Castino — Rollins
The 1979 AL Rookie of The Year winner, Castino enjoyed the shortest career of any of our focus players, lasting just six years in the Majors and having his career cut short due to an injury suffered in 1984 that limited him to eight games.
But in the five full seasons he did play with the Twins, the former Tars standout was a decent hitter who could get some extra-base hits for Minnesota when needed. He hit at least six triples in four of his five seasons, and cleared 30 doubles once as well.
Though his career was short, the former D2 star will be etched into baseball history forever for his accomplishments during the 1979 season.
Todd Worrell — Biola
Worrell was an unorthodox closer during his official rookie year in 1986, posting a record that some starting pitchers can't even reach in a full season. But nonetheless, his league-leading 60 games finished and 36 saves were plenty to get him the Rookie of The Year.
Winning the award with the Cardinals, the former Biola player also went on to play with the Dodgers from 1993-1997 when he retired. Of our players listed, he was our only pitcher and thus the only player to also win the Rolaids Releif Award in his career too.
Though Biola is a new school to the D2 ranks, they still have the most recent alum to win the Rookie of The Year, and maybe the last one for quite some time.