Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, January 29, 2002


Hawaii Pacific graduate and professional baseball player Benny Agbayani is joined by his wife, Niela Agbayani, and his daughter, Aleia Agbayani, in a ceremony retiring his number at the Blaisdell Center last night. Also joining him is, from left, his father Ben Agbayani Sr., mom Faith Agbayani and HPU President Chatt Wright.

Never another
Benny for HPU

Agbayani returns for an honor
from his alma mater

By Brandon Lee

Long before Benny and the Mets, it was Benny and the Hawaii Pacific Sea Warriors.

Benny Agbayani, who was traded from the New York Mets after 3-plus seasons to the Colorado Rockies last week, was a standout collegiate performer at HPU from 1991-93. He is the only NAIA first-team All-American in school history, and still holds the school record for homeruns in a season (10) and is tied for most career homers (14). During the 1991 season, Rookie of the Year Agbayani helped the Sea Warriors to their first and only appearance in the NAIA World Series.

In recognition of his years with the Sea Warriors and his accomplishments since, last night, before the HPU-Hawaii-Hilo basketball game, Agbayani had his uniform number retired. Agbayani's No. 28 will never be worn again in collegiate baseball competition by any Sea Warrior player or coach.

Agbayani joins basketball player Darryl Houston, who wore No. 22, as the only Sea Warriors from any sport to have their uniform numbers retired.

"Obviously, (the decision was made) for everything he's done for HPU baseball and baseball in the state of Hawaii," school vice president Rick Stepien said. "It's in tribute to him for his success in the professional ranks. But more importantly, Benny is a wonderful guy. He's doing wonderful things for Hawaii's youth and it's for what he gives back to the community, along with everything else."

Away from the diamond, Agbayani works with Hawaii's kids through his organization, MYTH, or, Motivating Yourself to the Highest. Through MYTH, he tries to motivate underprivileged youth to participate in athletics.

And as a local small college player who made it to the Show after toiling in the minors from 1993-98, Agbayani appreciates where he's come from.

"I never imagined that (happening)," said Agbayani, who choked up a bit when his jersey was unveiled. "It's a great honor. That's where I started my career, at HPU. For them to retire my number like this means a lot to me."

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