Milwaukee Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff, who played American Legion Baseball for the Tupelo (Miss.) 49ers, has been selected as the 2022 ALB Graduate of the Year.
Scheduling of the official award presentation is still in the works.
Woodruff, a two-time All-Star now in his sixth season with the Brewers, was part of the 2011 American Legion World Series runner-up. He received the James F. Daniel Jr. Sportsmanship Award that year.
“Really, any compliment that you could give a young man at that age as a person and as a player, he really deserved all of them,” said Woodruff’s Legion Baseball coach, Kirk Presley. “Very talented, but he just always showed up and did things the right way and played the game the right way. Big time competitor, and just always played the game like it meant something to him as well.”
Woodruff was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft, but opted to attend Mississippi State University instead. He spent three seasons with the Bulldogs before turning pro after the Brewers selected him in the 11th round of the 2014 draft. Woodruff made his major league debut with Milwaukee in August 2017.
While he’s found major league success as a pitcher, Presley noted that Woodruff didn’t initially want to be a pitcher.
“His first year (of American Legion Baseball) he didn’t pitch for us much if at all,” Presley said. “That fall, he went to some showcases or camps and he hit 94 (mph) on the radar gun. That’s when Brandon Woodruff the pitcher was born.
“That next summer, he came out for our team, even then he said, ‘Coach, I don’t really want to pitch.’ I’m like, ‘Dino, you hit 94 on a radar gun in front of scouts and coaches. You don’t have a choice now but to pitch because they’re all blowing up my phone wanting to know when they can come to watch you pitch.’ Really threw well for us and has thrown well since then,” Presley said.
Woodruff will be the second player from Tupelo Post 49’s baseball program to be named ALB Graduate of the Year. Brian Dozier, who spent nine seasons in the majors with the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and New York Mets, received the award in 2017.
“We’re certainly honored ourselves to have guys like Brandon and so many others who chose to come play for us,” Presley said.
About the American Legion Baseball Graduate of the Year Award
Each year The American Legion honors a former American Legion Baseball player who is currently playing in the Major Leagues for his character, leadership, playing abilities and community service. Individuals are recommended by their respective post.
Recipients of the award:
2022: Brandon Woodruff (Post 49, Tupelo, Miss.)
2021: Jacob deGrom (Post 3, Deland, Fla.)
2020: no award
2019: Neil Walker (Post 548, Gibsonia, Pa.)
2018: Brian Duensing (Post 374, Omaha, Neb.)
2017: Brian Dozier (Post 49, Tupelo, Miss.)
2016: Cliff Lee (Benton, Ark.)
2015: Alex Gordon (Post 3, Lincoln, Neb.)
2014: Michael Cuddyer (Post 280, Chesapeake, Va.)
2013: Chad Billingsley (Post 300, Napoleon, Ohio)
2012: Mark Ellis (Post 22, Rapid City, S.D.)
2011: Corey Hart (Kentucky)
2010: Brandon Inge (Lynchburg, Va.)
2009: Lyle Overbay (Post 15, Centralia, Wash.)
2008: Justin Verlander (Post 201, Powhatan, Va.)
2007: Chris Carpenter (Post 79, Manchester, N.H.)
2006: Albert Pujols (Post 340, Independence, Mo.)
2005: Scott Rolen (Jasper, Ind.)
2004: Darin Erstad (Jamestown, N.D.)
2003: Jeff Bagwell (Post 75, Middletown, Conn.)
2002: Luis Gonzalez (Post 248, Tampa, Fla.)
2001: Todd Stottlemyre (Washington)
2000: Chipper Jones (Post 6, Deland, Fla.)
1999: Steve Finley (Post 31, Paducah, Ky.)
1998: Tony Gwynn (Post 27, Long Beach, Calif.)
1997: Mo Vaughn (Norwalk, Conn.)
1996: Paul Molitor (St. Paul, Minn.)
1995: Bob Tewksbury (New Hampshire)
1994: Greg Maddux (Post 8, Las Vegas, Nev.)
1993: Bill Swift (Portland, Maine)
1992: Terry Steinbach (New Ulm, Minn.)
1991: Sid Bream (Carlisle, Pa.)
1990: Harold Reynolds (Post 11, Corvallis, Ore.)
1989: Alan Trammell (San Diego, Calif.)
1988: Roger Clemens (Spring Woods, Ohio)
1987: Don Mattingly (Evansville, Ind.)
1986: Dale Murphy (Portland, Ore.)
1985: Jeff Reardon (Dalton, Mass.)
1984: Ryne Sandberg (Spokane, Wash.)
1983: Andre Thornton (Phoenixville, Pa.)
1982: Jim Sundberg (Galesburg, Ill.)
1981: Gary Carter (Fullerton, Calif.)
1980: George Brett (El Segundo, Calif.)
1979: Mike Flanagan (Post 2, Manchester, N.H.)
1978: Ron Guidry (Lafayette, La.)
1977: Dave Winfield (Post 606, St. Paul, Minn.)
1976: Rick Monday (Post 123, Santa Monica, Calif.)
1975: Carlton Fisk (Post 37, Bellows Falls, Vt.)
1974: Wilbur Wood (Post 99, Watertown, Mass.)
1973: Johnny Bench (Anadarko, Okla.)
1972: Al Kaline (Baltimore, Md.)
1971: Steve Carlton (Miami, Fla.)
1970: Dave McNally (Post 4, Billings, Mont.)
1969: Harmon Killebrew (Payette, Idaho)
1968: Mickey Lolich (Post 102, Portland, Ore.)
1967: Carl Yastrzemski (Bridgehampton, N.Y.)
1966: Frank Robinson (Post 237, Pleasanton, Calif.)
1965: Eddie Fisher (Oklahoma)
1964: Brooks Robinson (Post 1, North Little Rock, Ark.)
1963: Warren Spahn (Buffalo, N.Y.)
1962: Bobby Richardson (Sumter, S.C.)
1961: Stan Musial (Donora, Pa.)
1960: Ted Williams (San Diego, Calif.)
1958: Sherm Lollar (Arkansas)