As if there wasn’t enough pressure to win on the field; off the field the best athletes in Wichita were in attendance at the 17th annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet where C.J. Ziegler took home the Professional Athlete of the Year award.
This isn’t Ziegler’s first award for his dominant 2013 season. He also won the Baseball America’s Independent League Player of the Year.
Ziegler, a first and third baseman for the Wichita Wingnuts, belted 30 homeruns in 2013, had 99 RBI and finished the season with a .318 batting average in 100 games.
Ziegler snatched the award away from last year’s winner Matt Moss of the Wichita Wild, and edged out the other nominees Brent Hobson of the B-52s and Andrew Martens of the Wichita Thunder.
General Manager of the Wingnuts Josh Robertson accepted the award on behalf of Ziegler, who was unable to attend the event due to a prior engagement.
Ziegler did however email a victory speech for Robertson to read to the crowd.
“It’s a privilege to be included in this great group of athletes,” Ziegler wrote. “I want to thank all of my teammates that I’ve had the opportunity to play behind. The friendships I’ve made playing this game will never be forgotten.”
Ziegler’s signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins and now plays in the Atlantic League for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.