A 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.
“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: