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Dec. 9, 2004

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – University of Virginia baseball player Ryan Zimmerman (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) was named the “Dick Case” Athlete of the Year by USA Baseball. Zimmerman was one of four individuals recognized by USA Baseball in its athlete, coaches and team awards for 2004 and was a part of two of the five total awards given out by USA Baseball. Aside from being named the Athlete of the Year, Zimmerman also played on the USA Baseball National Team that was named the Team of the Year by USA Baseball.

Others who were honored by USA Baseball were Marty Scott – Coach of the Year, Frank Cruz – Development Coach of the Year and Jim Michalek – Volunteer Coach of the Year.

Here is a closer look at each of the award winners:


Ryan Zimmerman – a member of the 2004 USA Baseball National Team – helped the United States earn a gold medal at the 2004 FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tainan, Taiwan this past August. Zimmerman – currently a junior at the University of Virginia – broke the USA Baseball National Team record by posting the highest ever team batting average (468) and led Team USA in all three triple crown categories: BA – .468; HR – 4; RBI – 27. The third baseman was named the Most Valuable Player at the FISU Championships after batting .375 (9-for-24) with nine runs scored, four doubles, and one home run during the event. In addition, Zimmerman led Team USA on the summer with 12 doubles, 25 runs scored, and an .805 slugging % while also collecting five hits in a game on two different occasions. For his team leadership and outstanding play as a member of USA Baseball’s National Team, Zimmerman is the 2004 USA Baseball Athlete of the Year. He will receive the second annual Richard W. Case Award, named after the former Executive Director of USA Baseball.


The 2004 USA Baseball National Team unbeaten (8-0) in the 2004 FISU World University Baseball Championships to win the Gold Medal, defeating Japan in the final by a 4-2 score. With wins over Japan (twice), Chinese Taipei (twice), Korea, Canada, Mexico & the Czech Republic, the 2004 USA Baseball National Team outscored their opponents 52-12 in event. The squad had earlier in the summer posted a 6-2 record during an eight-game Friendship Series with Taiwan & Canada at Durham Bulls Athletic Park – the new home of USA Baseball. They finished with an overall record of 18-7, and also became the first National Team to ever record a no-hitter, as five pitchers combined to pull off the feat in a game vs. Canada. Based on the above accomplishments, the 2004 USA Baseball National Team is recognized as USA Baseball’s Team of the Year.


Marty Scott returned to the USA Baseball program for his fourth tour of duty overall, but this time it would be a very different experience. In 2004, Scott was named the head coach for the first EVER USA Baseball Women’s National Team. This was by far his most impressive run, as he took a group of players from across the country and guided the American ladies to a gold medal at the first ever IBAF Women’s World Cup of Baseball in Edmonton, Canada.

In the finals, Team USA defeated Japan by a 2-0 score. The 2004 USA WNT posted an overall record of nine wins against two losses, also earning a silver medal at the 2004 Women’s World Series in Japan. The 18 players on the first USA Baseball WNT were selected through regional and national trials, and represented nine states from California to Florida. Scott’s previous stints with Team USA include managerial roles with Team USA at the 2003 IBAF World Cup, the 2002 America Series and the 2000 Pan Am Cup – each with independent professional male players. For his guidance and dedication, Scott is honored as the 2004 USA Baseball Coach of the Year.


In his second overall coaching stint with USA Baseball and first as a head coach, Frank Cruz led the 2004 USA Baseball National Team of collegiate players (19-21 year olds) to the program’s first ever gold medal at the FISU World University Championships in Tainan, Taiwan. Team USA went a perfect 6-0 in round robin pool play and then defeated Chinese Taipei (5-2) and Japan (4-2) to capture the gold medal. The Americans entered the championship with a uncharacteristic 10-7 record, but then won eight straight in Taiwan and 12 of their last 14 to conclude another successful summer for the USA Baseball National Team. The Americans captured the gold with a combined dominating performance at the plate, on the mound and in the field. The offense led the eight-team field hitting .307 with six home runs. The pitching staff was nearly untouchable, combining for a 1.19 ERA and striking out 83 batters in 68.0 innings. For continuing a tradition of excellence with the National program, Cruz was named the 2004 USA Baseball Developmental Coach of the Year.


Jim Michalek has been a Little League volunteer with Lamar National Little League of Richmond, Texas for eight years. Mr. Michalek has coached the Lamar National Little League (age 11-12) team for seven seasons. In 2003, Mr. Michalek managed the Lamar National team that represented East Texas at the Little League Baseball Southwest regional tournament in Waco, Texas. Winning the Southwest Region championship, Lamar National advanced to the 2003 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa. With a 2-1 record in pool play, Mr. Michalek’s team advanced to the United States Semifinal before losing to Saugus American Little League of Saugus, Mass., 14-13.

In 2004, Mr. Michalek achieved a rare return trip to the Little League Baseball World Series as again he managed the Lamar National all-stars to the Southwest Regional championship and berth in the 2004 Little League Baseball World Series. In 2004, Lamar National posted a 3-0 pool play record and advanced to the U.S. championship game before losing, 4-0, to Conejo Valley Little League of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Lamar National finished the tournament in third place. In both trips to the World Series, Mr. Michalek had a son on the team. In 2003, Jimmy played shortstop; and in 2004, Stephen saw time in left field. Michalek was named the 2004 USA Baseball Volunteer Coach of the Year for his service and outstanding leadership.

— UVa —

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