Bloomingdale’s Hinson named Wade Boggs Award winner

By Jarrett Guthrie, Editor

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Bloomingdale senior Cooper Hinson was born seven years after the end of Tampa baseball legend Wade Boggs’ Hall-of-Fame playing career. And though he didn’t get to personally witness the talent of a generational hitter, who posted a career .328 average, and collected 3010 hits – including a home run with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for No. 3000 – Hinson is well aware of the legacy of the former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees icon.

Now, Hinson gets to attach his name to part of that legacy, as the Bulls outfielder has been named the 2024 Wade Boggs Athletic Achievement Award winner.

“Wade Boggs is the man,” Hinson said. “I remember he was my buddy’s favorite player, so I got a bit of an education on him. He’s a Hall of Famer and it is a huge honor to be associated with his name.”

The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners established the Wade Boggs Athletic Achievement Award in 2005 to recognize outstanding athletic, academic, and community service achievements of a high school baseball player or team.

The award is named in honor of Baseball Hall of Fame member and 12-time All-Star, Wade Boggs, who has been a resident of the Tampa Bay area since he was a boy. He is a Plant High School graduate, and was previously an assistant coach at Wharton.

Hinson, a two-time All-Western Conference First Team selection and an All-813Preps First Team first teamer in 2023, hit .448 in his senior season, driving in 19 runs, scoring 34 times, with nine doubles and two home runs.

Signed to play at Marshall next year, Hinson helped the Bulls win a region title and advance to the FHSAA state semifinals this season.

“Cooper is so deserving of this award,” Bulls head coach Kris Wilken said. “Not only because of what he accomplished on the field but because of the teammate, student and kid he is to everyone he interacts with.”

Hinson said he was thrilled when he found out he was the 2024 honoree, and pointed to recent recipients as players he has respected and used as motivation in his own game.

“I do know a little bit about the award from my days in high school, and how big of a deal it has been,” he said. “With (Jesuit alum and 2022 honorable mention) Wes (Mendes), (’22 winner and Sickles alum) Caden (McDonald), and (2023 winner and Strawberry Crest alum) Arjun Nimmala – those are all guys I aspire to be like, because those are some great baseball players.”

And though thrilled with the award, and other individual accolades he has received during his time at Bloomingdale, Hinson said they are simply a bonus to his time playing for the Bulls.

“Honestly, these (awards) have been the little cherry on top of everything,” Hinson said. “Every day I’ve loved being out there playing with my teammates and playing for Coach Wilken. I get to see my best friends every day.

“Those are definitely the things that I’m going to look back on and be like, ‘yeah, that was a lot of fun.’ And I’ll look back and say, ‘I was pretty good.’ But those are the moments I’m going to cherish – the ones I got to share with my team.”

Leto senior Demetrios Passalaris and Durant senior Blaine Rowland were named honorable mentions for the award this season.

The official Wade Boggs Award presentation will be presented at the Hillsborough County Commission meeting on June 5th, which begins at 9 a.m.

Previous Wade Boggs Award winners

2006 – Ryan McCurdy, Plant
2007 – Tommy Toledo, Alonso
2008 – Alex Panteliodis, Alonso
2009 – Jay Laurienzo, Hillsborough
2010 – Peter Miller, Cambridge Christian
2011 – Brandon Sinjin Sato, King
2012 – Hayden Kelley, Gaither
2013 – Pete Alonos, Plant
2014 – Bubby Terp, King
2015 – Nelson Maldonado, Jefferson
2016 – Peyton Woble, Alonso
2017 – Drew Ehrhard, Wharton
2018 – Parker Messick, Plant City
2019 – Christian Suarez, Leto
2020 – No Award Given
2021 – Zach Ehrhard, Wharton
2022 – Caden McDonald, Sickles
2023 – Arjun Nimmala, Strawberry Crest
2024 – Cooper Hinson, Bloomingdale