Whittier College News Release

Whittier College
Office of Public Relations
13406 Philadelphia St.
P.O. Box 634
Whittier, CA 90608-0634


Media Contact:  562.907.4974 or mediarelations@whittier.edu

-Southpaw Vessella Invited to Houston-

WHITTIER, CA (June 6, 2006)—Announced today, Tom Vessella ’07, southpaw pitcher for Whittier College’s baseball team, was chosen in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball draft. He was the 339th player selected overall. Drafted by the Houston Astros, Vessella’s summer plans are pending negotiations and not yet public.

“I’m extremely excited and ready to start playing professional ball,” said Vessella, who had only heard the news an hour earlier. “I’m so thankful for what Whittier College offered me, and I feel that all that time spent, the education and experience I’ve gained from being there, brought me to this moment today.”

This past spring, playing his third consecutive season for Whittier, Vessella posted an 8-2 record with a 1.85 ERA and an impressive 91 strikeouts in 82 innings, while in conference play he was a perfect 5-0 with a 1.31 ERA. His 2006 season culminated with a host of regional and national honors: named to 1st Team All-SCIAC (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), 1st Team All-Western Region, and 3rd Team All-American. Additionally, he was honored as the Whittier College Purple & Gold Male Team Sports Athlete of the Year.

“I could not be happier for Tom,” said Mike Rizzo, Vessella’s baseball coach at Whittier. “He deserves it; he worked very hard. We’re going to miss having him with the Poet program, but this is the ultimate accomplishment for college baseball player. We wish him well and look forward to following his career.”

The 6’6”, 215lb. Vessella hails from Burbank, California. He attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and entered Whittier College to pursue an undergraduate degree with a major in kinesiology and a minor in education.

The Houston Astros boast six Hall of Fame players from their historic roster and were the 2005 National League Champions. Located in Houston, Texas, the Astros’ home is state-of-the-art Minute Maid Park, which has a seating capacity for 40,950 visitors and features innovative technology such as its retractable roof.

Founded by Quakers in 1887, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering a traditional liberal arts program integrated with both professional and pre-professional courses of study. With an emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College’s primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values appropriate for global leadership and service. Whittier College is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Orange County.

Whittier College Office of Communications
13406 Philadelphia » P.O. Box 634 » Whittier, CA 90608-0634
Tel: (562) 907-4213 » Fax: (562) 907-4927