Friday, September 7, 2012

Player Profile: Rocco Baldelli

I have 12 cards of Rocco Baldelli. This one is from 2006 Upper Deck.

Playing career: Rocco Baldelli was one of the first home-grown Devil Ray stars, finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2003 after a rookie season where he hit .289 with 11 HR and 78 RBI. Unfortunately, injuries and a rare genetic disorder cut short his career, and he only played in 519 major league games. However, he had the biggest hit in Rays history when he got the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS.

Interesting facts: A New Englander (from Rhode Island), he was one of the highest-rated amateur players before the 2000 draft. Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots and former coach of the Cleveland Browns, told friends with the Indians to draft him because he was “the best athlete I’ve ever seen.”

Where he is now: A scout for the Rays.

My memories: I remember him as a big star for the Rays. I was surprised to look and see how little he actually played.

Google Autocomplete results: He is sixth when you type Rocc, between Rocco DiSpirito Food Truck, referring to a project by the celebrity chef, and Rocco Luka Magnotta, the Canadian porn actor recently in the news for killing a man and mailing his severed body parts to politicians and elementary schools. There do not appear to be any other prominent Rocco Baldellis.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Aarom Baldiris.

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