By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
The Sacramento Tribe recently won the San Diego Memorial Day Fun Tournament 60-over American division championship. That comes as no surprise to anyone who knows of this team’s rich pedigree. Danny Pawelek threw the championship game victory, which is equally of no surprise to anyone who knows about this hired gun with the elastic arm. The real story is how he got to that moment in the tournament, which included a no-hitter in the semi-finals. Let me explain, with a little help from Danny.
“I pulled a hamstring in the first game in my second at-bat at 8:30 in the morning Saturday morning and sat out the rest of the day and also Sunday,” explained the 66 year old veteran hurler. “When I pulled the hamstring I tumbled to the ground between home and first base and was gone for the rest of that day. I wrapped my leg up with some kinesiology tape and sat out all day Saturday and Sunday but I asked if I could pitch Monday in the playoffs with my leg wrapped. Baseball’s a strange game.”
Danny not only got back on the mound but amazingly threw a no-hitter! If that wasn’t enough, he stayed wrapped up and threw an 11-2 championship victory. Two victories in one day while nursing a pulled hamstring. Just like fine wine this Utah native gets better with age.
Danny has been pitching for about 18 years and has amassed somewhere in the vicinity of 320 victories. You can’t help but see him smiling and chucking in the MSBL World Series in Arizona for three weeks as well as in Las Vegas and Palm Springs, not to mention regional tournaments like the recent San Diego tourney.
“In 2010 I set a goal to win 200 additional games and wanted to see how long that would take, or if I could even do it. Now I am only four wins short. But it does take a toll to throw so much. This is only my second no-hitter after all those years.”
Danny has no longevity goal in mind and will throw for people as long as the phone continues to ring. “As I have gotten to know a lot of people around the country I get invited to pitch for them, and that has made it all possible. I don’t have any illusions of stopping anytime soon, but injuries seem to be more prevalent these days. I have been averaging about 50 games pitched per year for the last eight years. Naturally, all the games are not complete games, but most of them are seven innings plus.”
Have the years of throwing taken a toll on your arm or body? “I have had several 400-plus inning years, but I’m not doing that anymore. It’s nice to pursue those personal and team goals, but still the greatest part of MSBL baseball is the guys you play with and the guys you play against. It’s a friendship network that is only possible through baseball.”
Danny ‘the Beast’ Pawelek, as coined by longtime manager-friend Bob Sherwin, summed up his life’s ambitions perfectly. “I feel that throwing a baseball doesn’t really list up there high on the real important things in life. But when I share what I’ve learned with all the kids and they get some joy from excelling as a pitcher, and when they text me after their games they play, I feel a wonderful kind of joy. It makes this journey all worth it.”