Pittsburgh farmhand Eric Hacker finally made his major league debut last week at PNC Park, a nice moment for which one lone fan applauded. One. And now the fan's been found. Fittingly, he writes horror novels.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette put up the Bat-sign last week, and eventually the Pittsburgh-born novelist Stewart O'Nan stepped forward, writing:
Yes, I'm the guy who clapped when I first noticed Eric Hacker, wearing the vaunted 17 of Dock Ellis and Bob Walk, making his way to the mound the other night. But give Bucs fans a little credit. Even as he struggled to find the plate, the remaining thousand or so faithful were calling out, ‘Come on, Hack!' and ‘Go get 'em, Hacksaw!' And, of course, ‘Throw strikes!' I'm sure we would have given him a grander welcome if he wasn't entering a badly-played game that had long been over, at the end of a badly-played season that has long been over, but we were very aware that this was his debut, and we were pulling for him
Hacker threw an inning, giving up three hits and two runs to the Reds in a 10-4 Pirates loss. I'm not sure what's sadder: that only one fan clapped, or that the game was so thinly attended — paid attendance was 16,492, but Kovacevic estimates that a third of those showed up — that finding the one fan took only a matter of days.