J.D. Drew was an absolute trailblazer at Florida State University. Before going on to play 14 years in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, he blossomed into arguably the greatest baseball player in Seminole program history.
In 1997 alone, he won the Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award, Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year and ACC Player of the Year on top of being named a Consensus All-American. The sweet-swinging left-hander and talented outfielder became the first player in college baseball history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in one season.
When his collegiate career was all said and done, the kid from Valdosta, Georgia, had broken 17 school and conference records. His legendary career in Tallahassee was born when he was a freshman in the College World Series.
J.D. Drew’s CWS Walk-Off Home Run
Florida State entered the 1995 College World Series as the No. 2 seed.
Mike Martin’s roster was full of future MLB talent. Doug Mientkiewicz played 12 seasons in the big leagues. Randy Choate wound up playing 15. But it was the 19-year-old freshman J.D. Drew who hit one of the biggest home runs of the team’s season (and arguably history) in Omaha, Nebraska.
FSU took on the seventh-seeded Oklahoma Sooners in the first round. The ‘Noles found themselves down 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning when Drew stepped to the plate against Mark Redman, the left-hander who’d go on to have a successful pro career himself.
With one mighty swing, Drew launched a fastball to left field and into the crowd. The announcer absolutely loses his mind, and it’s fantastic.
“Holy toledo! Drew’s being mobbed at home plate!” he shouts.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles lost to the Miami Hurricanes in the next round and were bounced from the tournament by Southern California. They headed back to the CWS several times in the late 1990s, finishing as runner-up in 1999.
J.D. Drew Now
As for Drew, the Philadelphia Phillies selected him second overall in the 1997 MLB Draft. He opted not to sign for the money they offered. The Cardinals took him fifth overall in 1998 and he began a 14-year career that produced 242 home runs and more than 1,400 hits. He won a World Series in 2007 with the Red Sox.
Drew made more than $108 million during his MLB time. After his career, he returned home to Georgia to live a quiet life with his wife and five children. He’ll always be a Florida State legend, and moments like his world series walk-off are why.