Sam Suplizio
Sam Suplizio
Organization: National Junior College Athletic Association
Year: 1994

For his contributions to the game of baseball, Sam Suplizio was named the winner of the 1994 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award.

Suplizio was the University of New Mexico's first All-American right fielder and prospect of the New York Yankees. He served as a Minor League baseball coach and scout for several clubs, including the Yankees, Angels and Brewers. Suplizio also played for and managed the semipro Grand Junction Eagles for 17 years.

A 2001 ABCA Hall of Fame inductee, Suplizio was a main figure in the organization of the National Junior College Baseball Tournament that began in Grand Junction in 1959, and he served as its chairman for 32 years.

Suplizio also served as co-chairman of the Colorado Baseball Commission and was a tireless worker in bringing Major League Baseball to Denver and the Rocky Mountain region. With Major League Baseball considering expansion, Suplizio joined Larry Varnell in 1989 to lead the baseball commission. The group headed up an election campaign that would eventually approve the construction of Coors Field.

Suplizio was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the JUCO Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985, and the fields at Grand Junction and Mesa State College bear his name.

Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. The Lefty Gomez Award is sponsored by Wilson Sporting Goods.