Saturday, August 23rd, was a very special day in the world of baseball — and not just because it was Julio Franco’s 50th birthday. For it was on this day that the Huntsville Stars strolled into the hallowed pages of the Guinness Book of World Records.
Their accomplishment? Starting at 12:01 a.m. and ending right before that evening’s 7:05 p.m. contest against Carolina, a startling 11,689 first pitches were thrown from the mound of Joe Davis Stadium.
It may take a logical leap to accept the fact that each one of these pitches was a “first”, but this was nonetheless a very impressive accomplishment. The previous “First Pitch” record of 8,304 was set earlier this season by the Brevard County Manatees, and there is in fact a significant connection between these two franchises. Prior to re-locating to Huntsville this past offseason, Stars GM Buck Rogers served in the same capacity for the Manatees. It was Rogers, in fact, who instituted the first “World Record First Pitch” promotion in Brevard County.
Here’s an excerpt from a press release sent out by Rogers after the Stars broke the Manatees’ record.
“Gates opened at midnight and fans began throwing for the
record books one minute later. Stars Manager Don Money threw pitch number
10,715 and the game’s umpires were included in the final 25 pitches. Only two
of the umps could find the strike zone, but that’s no different than any other
day in baseball so why worry about it now?“
Further research on my part resulted in me finding this blog post, which alleges that these umpires took part in the promotion at approximately 4:30 in the morning, driving straight to Joe Davis Stadium after working a game in Mobile the night before. And still, they are ridiculed. Anyways, back to Rogers’ report:
“The youngest pitcher of the night was six-month old
Maddux Welch, son of Stars Pitcher David Welch. Huntsville Mayor Loretta
Spencer came out and helped the cause as well. The final pitch, the ultimate world record throw, was raffled off for the
Muscular Dystrophy Association Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.”
Bold Font Indicating a Change in Topic: Over the past month or so, more and more teams have been sending me photos and recaps from promotions that were staged this season. Keep ’em coming! I am a huge proponent of symbiotic relationships between Minor League franchise and blogger.
And let me reiterate the fact that I appreciate hearing from everyone who reads this blog, no matter who you are or what you have to say.