FGCU alumnus and White Sox ace Chris Sale to be inducted in A-Sun Hall of Fame
Already earning 45 conference championships in its eight years in the Atlantic Sun Conference, FGCU will be leaving a mark on the inaugural A-Sun Hall of Fame Class of 2015 alumnus.
FGCU baseball and Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, along with five other former conference players, will be the first to be inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame. Sale, who was named the National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball in 2010, was selected as the 13th overall pick by the White Sox in 2010 and became one of six players in MLB history to play the same year he was drafted.
“It’s truly humbling,” said the four-time All-Star team select and 2013 All-Star game-winning pitcher. “I’m very appreciative of it. It was something that you never really think that you would happen, especially at that time. It’s a time in your life that you’re going to college, you’re just playing baseball.”
During his three seasons with FGCU, Sale, a Lakeland native, threw 293 strikeouts with a 2.52 ERA and 20-4 record. Last February, Sale became the first FGCU athlete to have his jersey retired. His jersey hangs in Alico Arena and his number is posted in the outfield at Swanson Stadium.
“He continues to be an incredible ambassador to not only athletics but the university,” said Ken Kavanagh, FGCU athletic director. “Look at it this way, this covers individuals from 35 or 36 different schools throughout the conference’s history. The fact that he is one of six people picked among so many great athletes, and that FGCU has only been around for about eight years, says something.”
The A-Sun Hall of Fame was created to annually honor former student-athletes, coaches, administrators and others whose accomplishments have contributed to the conference’s success. Sale is joined by former Stetson ace and current Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber (2005-2007); 14-time PGA Tour winner Hal Sutton from former conference member Centenary (1976-1981); former WNBA player Andrea Congreave, a two-time NCAA single-season scoring leader from Mercer (1989-1993); Jacksonville track and field star Monique Tubbs (2000-2003) and Stetson’s men’s basketball coach Glenn Wilkes, Sr. (1957-1993).
“This is an historic time in the life of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and we are so excited about introducing the inaugural class of A-Sun Hall of Famers,” A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart said in the conference’s announcement earlier this week. “From the exceptional success enjoyed in competition to the impact that each has made off the field in varying arenas of life, this class epitomizes the A-Sun mission of Building Winners for Life.”
Now in his sixth pro season and third year in the starting rotation for the White Sox, he has a 2.88 ERA, compiled a 56-37 record and has never completed a season with an ERA higher than 3.07.
“It’s well earned,” Kavanagh said. “Chris is pretty special. He was phenomenal as a student-athlete here and has continued on into his professional career.”
Of all his accolades, Sale says that his Hall of Fame induction is the most surprising to him of them all.
“It was completely unexpected,” Sale said. “For me, and for a lot of people, you go out and you play the game because you love it. You play to the best of your ability because that’s what is asked of you. You go out and leave everything out on the field. When accolades come, I’m very appreciative of it.”
The Hall of Fame will induct its inaugural class on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. The ceremony will be hosted by veteran broadcaster Neil Solondz, a member of the Tampa Bay Rays broadcast crew and an A-Sun Championship play-by-play announcer.