June 7, 2001
11:56 AM   Subscribe

A 12-year-old Little Leaguer has pitched a perfect game -- 18 straight strikeouts, the greatest individual achievement in baseball. And his parents missed the game! But they did take him out for ice cream later. Any Little League vets (or current players) here?
posted by luser (18 comments total)
I actually tried out for Little League and got cut. I had to play in this geek league instead (t-shirts instead of real uniforms). I actually got cut from just about every sport I tried out for. (Baseball, football, basketball). I am not bitter, just glad my kids have more opportunities today (I grew up in the 70s).
posted by luser at 12:00 PM on June 7, 2001

He pitched a perfect game, and all they did was take him out for ice cream? It had better have been a Ben and Jerry's Vermonster! =)
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:15 PM on June 7, 2001

the parents were trying to "make it up to him". how are they going to make it up to themselves?????

posted by rebeccablood at 12:23 PM on June 7, 2001

Nice achievement for the kid... but was he on acid at the time???
posted by Dirjy at 12:26 PM on June 7, 2001

So the assumption is that the achievement doesn't matter, unless the parents are there to see it? Isn't that a little ... parent-centric?
posted by dhartung at 12:28 PM on June 7, 2001

Wow. A perfect game is an accomplishment at any level. I only pitched a single inning in my entire baseball career (in little league as it turns out). I managed to strike out two of the three best hitters in the league that year. Unforturnately, everyone else in the line up seem to have my number, and I got rocked.

The first couple of years I played Little League, we had these really vintage flannelish uniforms (think the Bad News Bears only with Maroon piping). The last year I played, we moved to what luser calls geek-league attire. To make it worse, we had those batting helmets like John Olerud wears in the field, instead of proper caps.
posted by trox at 12:31 PM on June 7, 2001

That's right dhartung, except for when he loses his virginity. To his baseball coach. And gets ice cream afterwards.
posted by luser at 12:33 PM on June 7, 2001

My name is jpoulos, and I sucked at Little League baseball. ("Hi, jpoulos")...

I played one season when I was 9, and batted .000 for the year. I struck out every single time. My younger brother was on the same team, and I was totally jealous of him. He batted .000 too, but he struck out every time except once, when he hit a little nubber back to the pitcher and was thrown out at first.

Damn, I'd blocked that memory out...now, where's that phone number for my shrink?.....
posted by jpoulos at 12:45 PM on June 7, 2001

>So the assumption is that the achievement doesn't matter, unless the parents are there to see it?<

are you referring to *my* comment?

he's a kid. I think it would have been nice if at least one of his parents were there to see this. having said that, the kid was there, he can take pride in what he did. but nothing the parents do can make up *for them* the fact that they missed one of their children's most outstanding accomplishments. if I were one of them I'd feel cheated and I'd reassess whether my priorities needed a tune-up, since I'd like to be there for things like this.

posted by rebeccablood at 12:50 PM on June 7, 2001

Rebecca, I wouldn't get too mad at them, hard to know from the article, but it just sounds like they are typical parents running around like crazy trying to get kids to soccer practice, etc. I'm a parent and as much as you would like to, you just can't be there for every single game/play/recital etc. etc. If I missed a perfect game it would kill me, especially since my daughters right now only do ballet and music, so I wouldn't even understand how it could have happened!

Anyway they probably feel much worse than any of us could make them feel. Although the ice cream thing as penance does sound a little uncreative.
posted by luser at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2001

(I'm not mad at them; I just imagine they're mad that they couldn't be there for it. if it were me, it would prompt me to see if I could rearrange everyone's schedules so that this was much less likely to happen in the future. - rcb)
posted by rebeccablood at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2001

Thanks luser for defending harried parents. I've got two kids, and I am there often for many of their special events, but goshdarnit, I'm human too and can't be in two/three/four places at once. In the case of the Human Pitching Machine (article), it's entirely possible that this was only one game of many, many during the season, and mom's softball game may have been a one-time event for a corporate party, or fundraiser, etc. And Dad was earning his stripes driving kid #2 to another event. Sounds like they're doing OK to me.
posted by davidmsc at 2:28 PM on June 7, 2001

I can't imagine this is the only time he'll throw a perfect game (although the 18K's will be tough to match), so the parents might have plenty of chances to catch him.

The very very very best 12- and 13- year-old pitchers, the ones in the Little League World Series, have been known to throw as fast as 75-78mph (which is crazy- at the speed pitch at Safeco field, I can on the rarest of occasions hit 70-72mph, and I'm 26 and 5' 11"!), which at a ~45-foot distance translates to the equivalent reaction time of a 100mph fastball. No idea how fast this kid throws, but I'm betting he was at least in the 60's if he was that dominating. Most 12-year-olds simply don't have the reaction time to catch up to 60mph, period, much less from a shortened distance... I recall in my little league days, there was one kid who threw in the mid-60's, John H. (huge for his age- he hit the ball a ton, too). Couldn't hardly touch him then. And in high school, I had a chance once to bat against Chris Carpenter (currently of the Toronto Blue Jays) when he was well known around the state as able to hit 90mph as a highschooler from Portsmouth, NH. It's weird- when they throw that fast, either in little league or at major league speed when you're older, you see the ball out of their hand and think you've got it, and then it's like it starts to go faster as it gets near you and then it's by you and you can't figure out how come it suddenly got so fast. Imagine a cinematic trick where they start the windup in slow motion, and then suddenly speed it up to twice speed- it's kinda like that. Most 12-year-olds simply can't do anything with that...

Anyway, that's my recollection of little league, and facing the rare "Freak" hard thrower.

Just the other day, the FSN broadcast of the M's game mentioned in pasing that Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez supposedly threw 7 no-hitters in his Little League career. These freakish kids sometimes come up, throwing faster than their fathers and just blowing everyone away- they're all around better athletes, larger, and completely out-of-place among their age group. The typical response is to move them into the next league, even if they're too young. They stop moving them up when they reach the major leagues. :)
posted by hincandenza at 3:01 PM on June 7, 2001

I'm just glad no one bunted to break it up. We know how much trouble that causes.
posted by crawl at 3:08 PM on June 7, 2001

Little flashback... My little league umm... league... happened to be made up of all kids I went to school with, the pitchers had issues with me constantly making fun of them (and everyone else... always had kind of big snotty mouth as a kid) I hit .000, but lead the league EVERY YEAR in being hit-by-pitch. Made the all star team twice too (lucky I could field)
posted by tj at 7:33 PM on June 7, 2001

I played OK as a little leaguer, and I was able to make good contact and draw a lot of walks, which enabled me to leadoff, even though I am slow as hell. When I moved up to play in the Pony league, I thoroughly got schooled. I faced someone throwing curve balls for the 1st time and promptly stood still while 3 perfect pitches curved right to the middle of the plate. I don't think I got a hit all year.
posted by gyc at 7:37 PM on June 7, 2001

Ah, many memories as a little leaguer. (long winded post)

I remember playing left field and someone hitting a ball at me. Like the good little leaguer, I got in front of it, and the ball hit a sprinkler hole and bounced completely over me. Funny things you remember 12 years later. I remember making a play to my right in full running stride and feeling "I can DO this." After that my baseball skills got much better. I was almost the first left handed catcher in the league too, but my coach never played me in a game, only in practice. The worst thing about this is that we never won, we were tied (both years I played) for last.

I also played in a 13-16 year old league. A really competitive league. Many highschool freshmen and sophomores who played HS ball. My friends and I were the best players in the league and we never played HS ball. I was probably one of the best outfielders and the best contact hitter. Even though I was 6ft and 250lbs, I stole a whole heck of a lot of bases. Yeah that 5' 100lbs 13 year old shortstop gonna stand in my way? Not to mention I was a starting varisty defensive lineman for my HS as a Sophmore. I could run a little bit. :)

Anyway there was a pitcher in my league that had the ability to strike everyone out, but he just didn't have the control. He pitched for a HS varsity team. The one difference is that he pitched on a mound that was much closer. That ball looked like it launched out of his hand. I was a great contact hitter and I had much trouble hitting him. I literally had to kick into the pitch, just to be ready for it when it did come. If you stood back and waited to kick and swing the ball would be by you or you wouldn't get around on it and foul it off. The pressure with him was that he was also out of control at times and he would nail someone with these heaters. Other times he would have problem cuz he would try to be cute and throw a -bad- curve. Same kid hit 4 homer runs in a game but I don't think he hit 4 more that year. My friend lead the league with like 23. I had 2, one over the fence and one in the park. I was also known for stand-up sliding as well as sliding head first.

I am proud to say I was MVP of my league and team and that was the last time I ever played baseball. I was a coach for the next two years and we won the championship the first year and lost by 1 run the second year. My record as a players was well below .500 and my record as a coach was well above .500.

Ah sorry, to long of a post that no one would care about but me :)

Don't get me started on football stories, don't get me started...

posted by andryeevna at 12:28 AM on June 8, 2001

I played baseball through high-school. I never pitched at any of the higher leagues, but in fourth grade I used to pitch. In our league you were only allowed to pitch for 4 of the 7 innings, for a total of 12 outs. One game I struck out 13 of 12 possible outs. How is this possible? In the fourth inning the catcher dropped the third strike and the batter advanced to first. I then promptly struck out the last batter. Not a perfect game, but I am proud of my accomplishment.
posted by aschulak at 10:24 AM on June 8, 2001

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