With the CSULB Dirtbags season coming to an end this weekend, we take a look at the Top 4 Major League Baseball players whom have had their dream begin at Long Beach State.
Long Beach State may not be one of the “BIG” schools across the country and they may not have an illustrious resumé of championship history, but CSULB has produced its fair share of elite athletes. Long Beach State, over the last 20 years, has played a pivotal role in the development of a few of Major League Baseball‘s best players.
Here is a list of the Top 4 Dirtbags to come out of Long Beach State:
After spending his freshman year at Rio Hondo College, where he played shortstop, Evan Longoria transferred to Long Beach State for his sophomore season — hitting .320 and earning All Big West Conference honors. With Troy Tulowitzki already being an established shortstop at Long Beach State at the time Longo transferred, Longoria played third base. Since being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006, Longoria has become arguably the best third baseman in all of Major League Baseball. In six seasons with the (Devil) Rays, Longoria has a career average of .274, 166 home runs, 566 RBI’s with an on-base percentage of .356. He became the face of the Rays organization after signing a 6-year $100 million contract extension to remain with Tampa Bay through 2022.
Longoria is a 3x All-Star (2008-2010), a 2x Gold Glove Award winner (2009, 2010), a 2009 Silver Slugger Award and was voted the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year.
3. Troy Tulowitzki
Nicknamed “Tulo,” Tulowitzki spent three seasons at Long Beach State where he shined as a sure-handed shortstop. At CSULB, Tulowitzki had a career .962 fielding percentage while batting .310 with 20 home runs, 117 RBI’s, 37 doubles and a slugging percentage of .491 in 155 career games.
After a number of collegiate honors along with Baseball America rating him as the top defensive shortstop in the Big West Conference, Tulo was drafted as the 7th overall pick in the first round of the 2005 MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies. Since his MLB debut on August 30, 2006, Tulowitzki has become arguably the best shortstop in all of baseball and his ridiculous start in 2014 has him as the early season favorite for the NL MVP award; his .392 average and 13 home runs are tops in the National League. In eight seasons Tulowitzki has a career average of .299 with 168 home runs and 587 RBI’s to go along with a .986 fielding percentage — best amongst active players.
Tulowitzki is a 3x All-Star (2010, 2011, 2013), a 2x Gold Glove Award winner (2010, 2011) and a 2xSilver Slugger (2010, 2011) and may be adding a 2014 NL MVP to this list very soon.
2. Jered Weaver – Of the four standouts of Long Beach State alum, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver may have been the most highly touted coming out of college. In 2004, Weaver cleaned house on accolades winning the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur baseball player in America, the **** Howser Trophy as the Nation’s baseball player of the year and finally the Roger Clemens Award – college baseball’s top pitching honor.
A 2004 LA Times article described Weaver as, “Dominating” after a 37-9 career record at CSULB including posting a 15-1 record, with a 1.62 ERA in his final year as a Dirtbag. Weaver was drafted 12th overall by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2004 draft. In eight seasons with the Angels, Weaver has locked down the ace role in the rotation. The 3x All-Star joined an elite group on a special May night in 2012 when he pitched a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins. In 240 career starts, Weaver is 117-63 with an ERA of 3.24 while racking up 1,281 career strikeouts. Weaver signed a 5-year, $85 million contract in 2012 to remain with the Angels through 2016.
Weaver led the majors in strikeouts with 233 in 2010, is a 20-game winner from 2012 and finished second in American League Cy Young voting in 2011 behind Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.
1. Jason Giambi
Drafted out of Long Beach State in the 1992 Amateur Draft – 2nd round, 58th overall pick by the Oakland Athletics – Jason Giambi quickly made his mark on the major league scene after making his MLB debut on May 8, 1995. Over his 19 years in the big leagues, Giambi has been at the top of the headlines on both the good – American League MVP in 2000 – and bad side — his involvement in the BALCO steroids scandal.
His career numbers are Hall of Fame caliber — .277 career average, 438 home runs (41st all-time), 1,436 RBI’s – but being a major piece in the steroid era may be what keeps him out of the hall or at the very least prolongs his name being inshrined in Cooperstown. At 43-years-old Giambi has played for four teams: Oakland A’s (twice), New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and currently is on the 15-day DL with the Cleveland Indians.
Giambi is a 5x All-Star (1995-2001), a 2x Silver Slugger Award winner (2001-2002), was voted the American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2005 and most notably was awarded the American League MVP in 2000.
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