Sale picked as inaugural member of Atlantic Sun Hall of Fame

Author: FGCU Athletics

Atlantic Sun Conference officials announced their inaugural Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday, and former FGCU baseball standout Chris Sale is among the six-member group as one of the finest student-athletes in the history of the league.

Sale, the 2010 Collegiate Baseball National Pitcher of the Year and four-time Major League Baseball All-Star with the Chicago White Sox, is joined in the class by Corey Kluber (Stetson, Baseball), Hal Sutton (Centenary, Men’s Basketball), Andrea Congreaves (Mercer, Women’s Basketball), Monique Tubbs (Jacksonville, Track & Field) and Glenn Wilkes, Sr. (Stetson, Men’s Basketball Coach).

“We are honored to have Chris represent FGCU in this inaugural class,” said FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “He both epitomizes the selection criteria and represents Florida Gulf Coast University and the A-Sun Conference in outstanding fashion as a daily ambassador on and off the field.”

One of only six players in MLB history to play in the same year he was drafted, Sale was selected 13th overall following his junior season at FGCU in 2010. Along with a perfect 11-0 record and 2.01 ERA over 17 games in 2010, Sale struck out a national-best 146 batters while walking only 14, which remains the fifth-best single-season total in A-Sun history. Following that season, he became the first player in program history to be named an All-American.

Sale finished his career with FGCU – the only Division-I school to offer him a scholarship – with a 2.52 career ERA and a 20-4 record in 52 appearances. FGCU has won four A-Sun regular-season championships since moving to D-I, three of which (2008, ’09, ’10) came during Sale’s tenure. He was also a regular recipient of conference postseason honors, earning All-Freshman Team membership, A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and a pair of A-Sun First Team selections.

“The success that Chris has had has brought instant credibility to who we are and proven that you can get to the big leagues from the A-Sun,” added FGCU Head Baseball Coach Dave Tollett.  “A winner is an understatement to describe this man. He is a champion in every aspect. He not only is the greatest player to ever wear the Green and Blue, but overall is just an outstanding person. I get so much pleasure watching him pitch, but I get more pleasure watching him be an outstanding father and husband. He is just an awesome man! Most of all, he is just Chris; he hasn’t changed.”

An eight-member Hall of Fame Committee representing each of the A-Sun’s member institutions selected its Class of 2015 from a list of 19 nominees. The A-Sun Hall of Fame was created to annually honor former student-athletes, coaches, administrators and others whose collective accomplishments have contributed to the conference’s successful achievement of its mission of Building Winners for Life.

Representing former and current members of the conference – which was established in 1978 – from five different sports, the A-Sun Hall of Fame inaugural class will be inducted on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. The ceremony will be emceed by veteran broadcaster Neil Solondz, a member of the Tampa Bay Rays broadcast crew and an A-Sun Championship play-by-play announcer.

“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,” stated A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “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.”

Sale was a winner throughout his time at FGCU as a myriad of other honors were bestowed upon him during his collegiate career, including as an ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-American, CBF National Pitcher of the Year Finalist, Baseball America First Team selection, Yahoo! Sports All-American and 2010 Golden Spikes award runner-up.

Sale, who resides in Southwest Florida in the offseason and remains a great supporter of FGCU, became the first Eagle student-athlete to have his jersey retired when his No. 41 was recognized during a halftime ceremony of a men’s basketball game on Jan. 31, 2015.

Since moving to the White Sox starting rotation in 2012, Sale has started 112 games. In his sixth season overall, he currently has a 2.88 ERA, has compiled a 56-37 record and has never completed a season with an ERA higher than 3.07. Sale has finished 6th (2012), 5th (2013), and 3rd (2014) in the American League Cy Young voting the last three seasons.

Sale, 26, is just the second pitcher in White Sox history – along with left-hander Billy Pierce from 1955-59 – to make four consecutive All-Star teams. The Lakeland, Fla., native earned the win in the 2013 All-Star Game, a 3-0 AL victory, after hurling a pair of perfect innings in which he struck out two and allowed only one ball to leave the infield.

Named the AL Pitcher of the Month for June, he put together a scorching stretch in late spring and early summer when he recorded eight-straight games of at least 10 strikeouts. Sale and Pedro Martinez, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July, are the only two pitchers in the history of baseball to strike out double-figure batters in eight-straight games.

Sale – who is 12-8 this year with an ERA of 3.31 and a WHIP of 1.05 – leads the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (12.04) and is second to only 2014 National League MVP Clayton Kershaw in total strikeouts with 247 (Kershaw has 251). Sale is positioned to eclipse 300 strikeouts this season, which would be the highest total in MLB since Randy Johnson’s 290 in 2004. Like Martinez, Johnson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this summer.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sale had the most strikeouts (766) through his first 100 career starts than anyone else in MLB history. He currently has 966 career strikeouts in 859.1 innings, and is projected to record his 1,000th career strikeout later this month.

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