BALTIMORE (Aug. 11, 2005) – Gerald Sullivan, a right-handed pitcher from Mount Olive High School in Budd Lake, N.J., was awarded the inaugural Cal Ripken Jr. Sportsmanship Award during Thursday night's Aflac All-American Awards Dinner at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel. In addition, Jordan Walden of Mansfield (Texas) High School was presented with the Baseball America Pitching Prospect of the Year Award. Aflac Classic honorary chairman Cal Ripken Jr. and Baseball America CEO Catherine Silver presented the awards. (Note: a photo of Sullivan, Walden and Ripken is available at www.aflacallamerican.com.)
“We are extremely proud of Gerald and Jordan as we are of all the players who make up the elite roster of Aflac All-Americans,” said Al Johnson, second vice president for advertising and branding at Aflac. “Both awards are a testament of their hard work and dedication to the sport of baseball. Gerald and Jordan are true Aflac All-Americans.”
The first annual Cal Ripken Jr. Sportsmanship Award is given to the player who is a considerate sportsman both on and off the field, embodying the outstanding character of the award's namesake, future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. The recipient is chosen by his peers and coaches.
Sullivan is one of the top pitching prospects in the class of 2006. He is a big, strong right-hander with an excellent fastball. His pitches topped out at 94 mph earlier this summer at Turner Field and are improving everyday. He has great command of his fastball and secondary pitches.
Beginning in this year, Baseball America, in conjunction with the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic, will honor the top pitching prospect in the rising high school senior class with the Baseball America Pitching Prospect of the Year Award. The award is given to the rising senior pitcher who has shown considerable promise during his youth, high school and summer amateur career as a potential high-round major league draft pick or future major Division-I college player. The recipient must show excellent prowess on the field and also demonstrate honorable character in his pursuit of excellence on the field, in his community and in the classroom.
Walden completed his second year as an integral part of Mansfield High's pitching staff in the spring of 2005, keying his school's run into the Texas High School playoffs. He continued his success in the summer of 2005, pitching phenomenally in numerous national and regional showcases and tournaments, proving his mettle each time he took the mound.
“When watching Jordan Walden operate on the mound, it becomes obvious he has an advanced ability that should carry him to continued success in college, the minor leagues as well as Major League Baseball,” said Alan Matthews, Baseball America Associate Editor. “His arm strength and control is a combination unrivaled in the high school class of 2006, but his maturity and composure are the intangibles that will help him mold those tools into the foundation of an outstanding professional pitcher.”
The third annual Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic will be played Saturday August 13 at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md. The event is the nation's elite high school baseball showcase featuring the top 38 rising senior players in an East vs. West match-up. The game will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports Net at 2:05 p.m. Eastern Time. Net proceeds from the game will benefit the division of Pediatric Oncology at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore.
For more information about the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic and to download pictures and bios of the player of the year nominees, log on to www.aflacallamerican.com.
Sports America, Inc., is a sports marketing and event management firm based out of Rockville, Md., which created and currently produces the Aflac Classic. Sports America also produces the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Game and Jordan Classic High School All-Star Basketball Game.
For 50 years, Aflac products have given policyholders the opportunity to direct cash where it is needed most when a life-interrupting medical event causes financial challenges. Aflac is the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force in Japan. Aflac's insurance products provide protection to more than 40 million people worldwide. In January 2005, Aflac was included in Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the seventh consecutive year. Aflac has also been included in both Forbes magazine's Platinum 400 List of America's Best Big Companies and in Fortune magazine's listing of America's Most Admired Companies for five consecutive years. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.
Mechell Clark Dan Sabreen
Aflac Incorporated Sports America, Inc.