Former Philipsburg-Osceola standout and current St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams became the first player in Slippery Rock University history to have his jersey retired in a private ceremony recently.
Slippery Rock baseball coach Jeff Messer, president Cheryl Norton and St. Louis Cardinals regional scout Brian Hopkins, who played a key role in the Cardinals’ drafting of Adams in 2009, as well as Philipsburg-Osceola coach Doug Sankey and longtime hitting coach Justin Hazelton were in attendance for the retirement of Adams’ No. 25 jersey.
“This is a huge honor for me,” Adams said in a short speech at the event. “With everybody that has come through Slippery Rock and put the jersey on here, they are great players and great people.”
Adams starred at Slippery Rock from 2007-09, appearing in 137 games and batting .454 with 133 runs scored, 27 home runs and 148 RBIs. Adams, who led The Rock to a record of 96-55 during his tenure, is SRU’s all-time leader in batting average, slugging percentage (.746) and on-base percentage (525).
In his collegiate career, Adams was a three-time first team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference selection, the 2007 PSAC-West Rookie of the Year, the 2009 PSAC-West Player of the Year and a three-time All-America selection. He was the NCAA Division II Player of the Year in 2009.
After being drafted by the Cardinals with the 699th pick of the 23rd round in the 2009 draft, Adams spent parts of three seasons in the Cardinals’ minor league system before being called up to the major league roster in 2012.
Since joining the Cardinals, Adams has played in 277 games over three seasons, hitting 34 home runs to go with 132 RBIs and a .283 batting average. Adams has helped the Cardinals to two Central Division championships, one National League pennant and was a starter in the 2013 World Series. He also belted a dramatic three-run home run off of Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw as the Cardinals eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League playoffs with a 3-2 victory.
Adams thanked many people but credited his family for his success.
“I wouldn’t be standing up here if it wasn’t for my family — just learning how to work, how to become a man, how to treat everybody else and respect everyone the way you want to be respected.”