Jan. 22, 2014
A pair of San José State University baseball players, junior Andre Mercurio and sophomore Mike Simonini, stood among baseball’s best as honorees at the 30th annual Santa Clara County Hot Stove Banquet at the San Jose Elks Club on Tuesday night.
Mercurio became the third Spartan in the last five years to win the College Player of the Year Award while Simonini was this year’s Spartan recipient of the Loyd Christopher Award, given to one member of the San José State, Stanford and Santa Clara programs.
Mercurio and Simonini joined a host of Hot Stove winners that included Major League Players of the Year Daniel Nava of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox and Daniel Descalso of the World Series runner-up St. Louis Cardinals. Mark Appel (Stanford, Houston Astros) was the College Pitcher of the Year honoree.
Each year, the Hot Stove banquet salutes athletes from high school level to Major League Baseball who have played in Santa Clara County. The event was led by Ted Robinson, current radio voice of the San Francisco 49ers. Other speakers and award honorees included: Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin, long-time Stanford assistant coach Dean Stotz (Lifetime Achievement Award) and Hot Stove Committee member Al Talboy.
Mercurio, a San Mateo, Calif., native and graduate of Serra High School, was SJSU’s hits leader in 2013 while batting .315 in 57 starts. He was a Second-Team All-Western Athletic Conference choice.
Simonini, a San Jose, Calif., native, joins Brian Yocke, Justin Santich-Hughes (twice), Kevin Frandsen, Nick Epidendio and Jason Martin in the group of Spartans to win the Loyd Christopher Award. The award is named for the late Loyd Christopher, who spent much of his career as a scout after a long stint as a professional baseball player. A $500.00 scholarship grant is given to the college player nominated by his coaches.
Spartan baseball begins full-time spring practice this Friday, January 24. Opening Weekend of the 2014 season is set for February 14-16 when San José State hosts San Diego State for a three-game Mountain West series.