Former FGCU Baseball standout and current Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale became the first former student-athlete in the history of FGCU Athletics to have his jersey retired when his No. 41 was recognized during a ceremony at the FGCU men’s basketball game versus Northern Kentucky on Jan. 31 in Alico Arena.
Sale is one of only six players in Major League Baseball history to play in the big leagues the same year he was drafted, after being selected 13th overall following his junior season at FGCU in 2010. Since moving to the White Sox starting rotation in 2012, Sale – one of the best pitchers in baseball – has compiled a 40-26 record and has never had a season ERA over 3.07 en route to finishing sixth in the American League Cy Young voting in 2012, fifth in 2013 and third this past fall after posting a 12-4 record and 2.17 ERA.
“For me it’s kind of mind blowing to think about this,” Sale said. “Coming here in 2007 doesn’t seem like that long ago. You don’t think this kind of stuff is going to happen when you’re starting out or when you’re going through it. But, what an honor, it’s very humbling. I appreciate the fact that FGCU is doing this for me, it’s really awesome.”
An AL All Star each of the past three seasons, Sale earned the victory in the 2013 All-Star Game after pitching two perfect innings in a 3-0 AL win.
While at FGCU, Sale – who lives in the area in the offseason and remains a great supporter of FGCU – was named the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year in 2010 after posting a perfect 11-0 record with a 2.01 ERA over 17 games. In 103 innings during the ’10 campaign, Sale struck out a national-best 146 batters while walking only 14. Included in his victory total were wins at national powers Wichita State and Clemson, while also guiding the Eagles to a victory in their first Atlantic Sun Tournament appearance opposite Stetson.
“Chris Sale has exemplified everything we want our program to be about on and off the field,” head coach Dave Tollett said. “All throughout his career he has proved the doubters wrong, starting with all the schools that didn’t recruit him. He has always done it the right way and has been a great supporter of our program and our university. I’m excited for him and I’m extremely proud to have been a part of his career.”