TEMPE, Ariz. – Former 1989 Goldpanner Arizona State University center fielder Mike Kelly’s No. 24 jersey will be honored on March 8 prior to the baseball team’s 6:30 pm game against Tennessee at Packard Stadium.
Kelly will become the 17th Sun Devil to join the Wall of Fame on Packard Stadium’s outfield fence that already includes Sun Devil Baseball greats Sal Bando, Floyd Bannister, Barry Bonds, Alvin Davis, Bob Horner and Reggie Jackson, among others. As part of the recognition, Kelly will be introduced on the field 15 minutes before the game and will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“Mike is one of three Devils in program history to win the Golden Spikes Award, but is the only one not on our Wall of Fame,” head coach Tim Esmay says. “This day is long overdue as he was not only one of the best-of-the-best to ever put on the Maroon and Gold, but he was also a first-class citizen off the field. The way he conducted himself is something we teach our current team every day, to live the Sun Devil Way, so it will really be an honor for me to watch his number take its rightful place in the outfield.”
All 16 players currently represented on the outfield wall at Packard, as well as Kelly, will also be recognized in some capacity on the outfield wall at Phoenix Muni.
Wall of Fame honorees are determined by a combination of both collegiate and professional accomplishment, as well as the player’s character and contributions as a teammate, and he must be at least 10 years removed from his ASU playing career.
Paul LoDuca, whose No. 16 was honored by ASU in 2005, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the series opener against Tennessee on March 7 at 6:30 pm MT.
Kelly and LoDuca headline the series-long celebration of 1990-99, which is the second of seven themed weekends this season at Packard Stadium as we Tip Our Cap to the historic ballpark.
Tip Your Cap To Packard
Feb. 14-16: 2000s at Packard Stadium
March 7-9: 1990s at Packard Stadium
March 14-16: 1980s at Packard Stadium
April 4-6: 1970s and opening of Packard Stadium
April 11-13: Foundation of Sun Devil Baseball (Pre-1974)
May 16-18: 40 years of Packard Stadium
Kelly (1989-91) was the last Sun Devil to win the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, baseball’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, in 1991, was the first three-time All-American in ASU history and was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 2002. He earned consensus National Player of the Year honors in 1990 after becoming the fifth Sun Devil to join the 80-80 Club with 82 RBI and 83 runs scored.
A career .350 hitter, he scored 197 runs, and tallied 194 RBI, 46 doubles and 46 home runs, the second most in ASU history. He was selected second overall in the 1991 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves and went on to play parts of six seasons on four different teams in the Major Leagues.
LoDuca (1993) was named National Player of the Year in his single season in Tempe in 1993 after he set the school’s single-season record with a .446 batting average and totaled 129 hits, including a 37-game hitting streak, 14 home runs and 88 RBI. He played 11 Major League seasons and was a four-time All-Star.
Tip Your Cap To The 1990s Giveaways – March 7-9
· Friday, March 7
o The first 750 fans will receive the commemorative 1990s poster
· Saturday, March 8
o The first 750 fans will receive the 2014 Sun Devil Baseball Trading Card Set
What They’re Saying About Kelly
“’Gentle Giant’ Mike Kelly did it all...first round draftee, Golden Spikes Winner, Baseball America College Player of the Year. But ASU fans remember most ‘The Catch’ where he reached over the wall at Sancet Field (in Tucson) with two runners on base to save a victory for the Sun Devils in '91! Coach Jim Brock greatly respected Mike's talent, work ethic and great contribution to the program.” – Pat Brock, wife of the late Jim Brock, Sun Devil Baseball’s winningest head coach.
“Of the many talented players who have worn the baseball uniforms of Arizona State down thru the years, few had a skill-set as complete as Mike Kelly. He clearly was one of the best all-around players in Sun Devil history, representing the program with class and dignity on and off the field.” - Tim Healey, Voice of the Sun Devils
“Mike Kelly was the most talented – and most exciting – college baseball player I ever saw. His combination of prodigious power and speed was unmatched during his era. He made the game look so easy. But what I remember most was his incredible range in center field, and more importantly, what a good person he was – humble, polite and personable, a superb representative of Arizona State.” - Scott Dupree, Associate Sports Information Director from 1989-93
The Legend of Mike Kelly
· The Catch – May 12, 1990, against Arizona in Tucson - ASU led Arizona, 4-2, in the sixth inning when UA’s Jack Johnson hit a two-out fly ball to center field with two runners on base. Kelly raced to the wall, timed his jump perfectly and reached over the fence to rob the Wildcats of a potential game-winning three-run homer.
o “That catch, for critical timing, may be the most damaging one I can ever remember against us.” – Arizona Head Coach Jerry Kindall
o “Reaction to the most marvelous moment of Kelly’s fabled two-year career ASU career was predictable but not overstated. Such a play defies overstatement.” – Jeff Metcalfe, longtime Valley sports journalist
· The Batting Practice Ball - March 6, 1990 – Kelly hit a home run in batting practice and the ball was found near the Salt River with the letter “A” stamped across it from the word “EASTON,” which was printed on Kelly’s bat
· March 28, 1989 – Kelly’s 500-foot home run vs. Washington State in the Riverside Invitational in Riverside, Calif.
· The Catch II – Feb. 12, 1990, against Texas in Austin – Kelly, playing shallow and shaded toward left field, chased down a line drive from Longhorn Lance Jones near the warning track in right-center to escape a bases-loaded jam.
o “It was absolutely the greatest catch I’ve seen in the last 10 years. When the ball left the bat, I thought ‘three-run triple.’ I still can’t believe Kelly ran it down.” – Ron Franklin, ESPN
o “The catch at Arizona was more dramatic, more shocking. But for pure athleticism and talent, I’m not sure I’ll ever see a catch as amazing as the one at Texas.” – ASU Head Coach Jim Brock
· April 23, 1989 – Kelly’s double against Cal that left a dent inches from the top of the Green Monster at Packard. The ball was said to still be rising as it hit the Green Monster.
· Feb. 25, 1989 – A two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning that gave ASU a 10-9 walk-off win vs. UCLA
· March 5 and April 27, 1990 – His three home runs in a suspended game against Stanford, including two in Palo Alto and one in Tempe. Kelly became the 10th player ever to clear the Green Monster at Packard Stadium with his third home run against the Cardinal.
Sun Devil Baseball’s 80-80 Club
· Brett Wallace – 2007 – 83 RBI, 87 runs
· Jeff Larish – 2003 – 95 RBI, 80 runs
· Willie Bloomquist – 1999 – 84 RBI, 95 runs
· Mike Kelly – 1990 – 82 RBI, 83 runs
· Mike Sodders – 1981 – 100 RBI, 93 runs
· Hubie Brooks – 1978 – 82 RBI, 92 runs
· Bob Horner – 1978 – 100 RBI, 81 runs
· Ken Landreaux – 1976 – 93 RBI, 96 runs
Sun Devil Baseball Wall of Fame (17)
|Name||Years Played||Jersey Number||Date Honored|
|Bobby Winkles||1959-71||#1||Feb. 25, 1972|
|Reggie Jackson||1966||#44||Jan. 13, 1990|
|Barry Bonds||1983-85||#24||March 19, 1993|
|Jim Brock||1972-94||#33||Jan. 21, 1995|
|Bob Horner||1976-78||#5||Feb. 10, 1996|
|Sal Bando||1964-65||#6||Feb. 23, 1996|
|Floyd Bannister||1974-76||#19||Jan. 18, 1997|
|Rick Monday||1965||#27||Jan. 25, 1997|
|Larry Gura||1967-69||#14||Jan. 18, 1998|
|Alan Bannister||1970-72||#7||Jan. 9, 1999|
|Eddie Bane||1971-73||#21||Feb. 16, 2000|
|Hubie Brooks||1977-78||#7||March 3, 2000|
|Paul Lo Duca||1993||#16||Jan. 28, 2005|
|Alvin Davis||1979-82||#9||May 14, 2006|
|Kevin Romine||1981-82||#12||May 14, 2006|
|Mike Kelly||1989-91||#24||March 8, 2014|