The University of Hawai‘i baseball program has retired the jersey number of former Rainbow Warriors All-American second baseman Kolten Wong, 16th-year head coach Mike Trapasso announced during Sunday’s 15th annual Grand Slam Celebration.
Wong’s No. 14 jersey will be displayed in the Les Murakami Stadium outfield as only the third retired number in the program’s history, alongside Murakami’s No. 11 and Derek Tatsuno’s No. 16.
“This is truly a blessing,” Wong said during a pre-recorded video for the members of the Grand Slam Club. “What an honor this is. I feel really humbled that I was chosen. It’s truly unbelievable to think that my number is going to be on that wall and every time I come back, I’ll be able to see that and remember the times I had at UH.”
“My times here were magical,” Wong continued. “I grew up as a young kid watching UH baseball and cheering them on. When I got the chance to come to UH, I turned down every other school. I knew this is where I wanted to be – I wanted to be a Warrior, I wanted to be a Rainbow. I wanted to fight and play in front of my fans, in front of my family and in front of all of Hawai‘i.”
Recently inducted as one of the youngest players ever to join the Cape Cod Baseball Hall of Fame, Wong played three seasons from 2009-2011 for the Rainbow Warriors. He was a three-time All-WAC first team selection, in addition to 2011 All-America honors from Baseball America, the American Baseball Coaches Association and Perfect Game. That season, he was named MVP of the WAC Tournament, leading UH to the WAC title and two wins in the NCAA Regional in Tempe, Ariz.
Wong also garnered Freshman All-America honors following the 2009 season and appeared on the USA Baseball national team during series against Canada, Guatemala and Japan in North Carolina and British Columbia, Canada.
“We're honored to retire Kolten's number 14 that he wore here at UH,” Trapasso said. “The incredible accomplishments on the field, and the type of person he is off the field made this an easy decision. Fans will now see Kolten's 14 on the outfield wall next to Coach Les Murakami's 11 and Derek Tatsuno's 16. That's rarified air and well deserved. Congratulations Kolten. Go Bows!”
During his time with Hawai‘i, the Hilo native played in 178 games and held a batting career average of .358, ranking fourth among UH career averages. Wong accumulated 47 doubles, nine triples and a program second-most 25 home runs, while batting in 145 runs and crossing the plate 151 times himself.
Wong still ranks in the Hawai‘i top-10 in several career statistical categories, including home runs, career batting average, slugging percentage, (3rd, .563), hits (9th, 245), doubles (10th, 47) and total bases (7th, 385). He also holds top-10 positions in three season statistics.
He remains tied for most home runs in a game, launching three at Loyola Marymount during his rookie year.
Wong went on to be selected in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, with the 22nd overall pick by the St. Louis Cardinals. He made his MLB debut in 2013 and played in the World Series later that season. He also helped the Cardinals to an appearance in the 2014 National League Championship Series.
The newly-mounted outfield panel for Wong will be ready to go for the Rainbow Warriors during the opening weekend series against No. 6 NC State, beginning on Friday, Feb. 17 at 6:35 p.m. in the friendly confines of Les Murakami Stadium.
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