Archive for May 26th, 2009

The Man Who Only Threw Strikeouts

NecciaironA couple of years ago, I visited Bristol, VA as part of my quest to see all of the minor-league ballparks in my state. I remember reading the marker dedicated to Ron Necciai, and marveling at the story of the unprecedented 1952 minor-league game in which he struck out every batter he faced – 27 Ks, to be exact.

Thomas K. Perry (good call on including the middle initial), in a piece for Blue Ridge Country Magazine, told that story and then went the extra mile to re-connect with Necciai in the present day. Necciai recounted the sudden end of his promising baseball career:

“I got back to the Pirates as quickly as I could and was trying real hard to catch up physically with the other guys on our team, rushing to get into playing shape,” Necciai remembers. Throwing hard and often, he felt pain in his right shoulder.

Nothing to worry about. Just the first sore arm. Happens to every pitcher. Young men play through small injuries. It’ll get better.

It didn’t.

“Back then, when a pitcher hurt his arm, it was over, barring some miracle,” he recalls. “One sore arm, and that was it.”

Necciai pitched in six games at Burlington in ’53, then sat out all of ’54 to try to heal the arm. After a brief try in ’55, he gave up.

“I was 23 years old, and it was over,” he says today. The injury he suffered was a torn rotator cuff, in the 1950s often not diagnosed as such, but virtually always recognized as a career-ending injury.

It’s a nice way to commemorate a feat that many baseball fans don’t know anything about. Read the rest:

[Ron Necciai – Blue Ridge Country]

Now Pitching For The Tampa Bay Rays…

Right now, as we speak, David Price, Baseball America’s second-ranked preseason prospect, is making his much awaited 2009 debut for the Tampa Bay Rays.  He’s through three innings thus far, with three walks, two hits, and five strikeouts to his credit.  The offense has given him some breathing room, touching up Fausto Carmona and Jensen Lewis for seven runs.

This game features three players on Baseball America’s Top 100: Price, Reid Brignac, and Matt LaPorta (not to mention Evan Longoria, who was on last year’s list).  LaPorta is 0-1 with a strikeout, Brignac 1-2 with a run scored and two batted in.  In fact, let’s just go ahead and make this a “Now Batting For…” post for ol’ Reid as well (I think this officially makes him the first prospect to be so honored twice – I gave him a much better welcome last year).  He was called up on Friday to replace Scott Kazmir and could be around for awhile now that Akinori Iwamura is out for the season with a knee injury.  He better be good – he’s on my fantasy team, and we could use the points.

Update: It’s now 10-0 in the top of the fourth.  Price has thrown 77 pitches through his three innings, so it’s pretty much a race against the pitch count at this point to decide if he gets his first win of the year.

Update #2: The pitch count wins.  Price struggles to start the fourth and is pulled when he hits the century mark.  His final line: 3.1 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts.