Joey Wendle of Kennett Square and Tampa Bay Rays chosen as PSWA’s Native Son
Kennett Square and West Chester University’s Joey Wendle had a strong year at second base for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018, hitting .300, finishing fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting and helping his squad to 90 wins. To cap off a solid season, Wendle will be celebrated in front of friends and family near his old stomping grounds as the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s (PSWA) Native Son award winner.
The public is invited to attend PSWA’s 115th annual dinner Monday, Jan. 21 at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill. Tickets are still available here.
Wendle graduated from Avon Grove High School in West Grove, Chester County, and played a standout second base at West Chester University, where he was a three-time first-team All-American batting .366 for his career. He led the Golden Rams to the NCAA Division II championship in his senior year, hitting .399 over 56 games, winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference triple crown.
With the Rays last season, Wendle hit .335 from July 1st to the end of the season, finishing second over that time span to batting champion Mookie Betts and committed just four errors in 101 games at second base, for a stellar .989 fielding percentage.
Wendle highlights an awards line-up that includes Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola, Outstanding Pro Athlete; Villanova graduate and current Dallas Mavericks star Jalen Brunson, Outstanding Amateur Athlete (not able to attend due to his NBA schedule); former Eagle Mike Quick, Living Legend; former Flyer Brian Propp and Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy, special achievement awards; Flyers/Phillies announcer Jim Jackson, Bill Campbell Broadcaster’s Award; and Hall of Fame writers Ray Didinger and Jayson Stark. Eastern High School’s number-one-ranked field hockey team in the nation will join the headliners.
PSWA is giving special recognition to college football hall of famer and former Temple great Paul Palmer, and Phillies’ longtime director of travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger retiring after five decades in baseball. Michael Zingrone of Hammonton, sports editor of the Temple News, is this year’s PSWA-Richie Ashburn scholarship recipient.
The Flyers’ Gritty and sports comedian Joe Conklin will entertain. PSWA is the oldest organization of its kind in the nation and its awards dinner – now in its 115th year – is the longest running sports-related dinner in the country.
An evening’s highlight will be the presentation of the Most Courageous Athlete, kept secret until it is presented. The internationally-acclaimed award traditionally goes to an athlete who has returned to his or her sport after experiencing a severe injury or other setback and returning to the sport. Tickets for this years event are available here.