clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ASU's 50 Best Professional Athletes No. 15: Baseball's Rick Monday

We continue our summer series counting down the 50 greatest professional athletes to have attended Arizona State, hitting the diamond for No. 15.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It only makes sense that the man who made the "Greatest Play In Baseball" cracks the top 15 of our list of the 50 greatest professional athletes to come out of Arizona State.

But while Rick Monday might be known best for what he did on that April afternoon at Dodger Stadium, his achievements throughout his full 19-year MLB career is what has him ranked so high on our list.

After being born in Arkansas and playing his high school ball in Santa Monica, California, Monday decided to continue his baseball career at Arizona State. The center fielder liked the west and the fact that the Sun Devils head coach, Bobby Winkles, was from Arkansas, so the decision was an easy one.

While with the maroon and gold, Monday showed off some brief flashes of brilliance that he would soon be known for at the professional level. The Arkansas-product only played one season for Arizona State's varsity team, but that season was sure a good one. Monday led the Sun Devils to a national championship in that 1965 campaign, being named National Player of the Year by The Sporting News after hitting at a .359 average.

He was then drafted first overall in the '65 draft by the Kansas City Athletics, where he would spend a total of six seasons with the big league club in both Kansas City and Oakland.

Monday spent time with two more teams - the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers - in his long and prosperous career. He was a two-time All-Star, including a 1978 campaign when he hit .272 and recorded 77 RBIs for Chicago.

In 1981, the former Sun Devil became a member of the exclusive fraternity to win both a regular World Series and College World Series ring as his Dodgers topped the New York Yankees in six games. Monday received 13 at-bats in the series and had a .231 average at the plate.

Then 38-years-old, he retired from the game after the 1984 season. Monday was recently honored back in April by Arizona State for his heroic, flag-saving play.

Check back tomorrow to see who will be No. 14 on our list of the 50 best professional athletes to come out of Arizona State.