The high—and I do mean high—priest of baseball eccentrics hasn't pitched in the majors since 1982, but he's still out there, you know, man, and he's still pitching, 65 years young. Last night, the Spaceman took the mound for the San Rafael (Calif.) Pacifics of the independent North American League. It was a one-time-only show, much like the Spaceman's outasight appearance for the Brockton Sox of the Cam-Am League when he was a mere 63.
So how'd he do? How about a complete game. How about just four earned runs on eight hits on just 94 pitches, 69 of which went for strikes. The Spaceman didn't strike anyone out, but he didn't walk anyone, either. The Pacifics beat the Maui Na Koa Ikaika, 9-4, and the Spaceman stayed out there despite spotting the Na Koa Ikaika a 3-0 lead in the fifth. Far out.
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle caught up with the Spaceman the other day and wrote a column about it. I recommend reading the whole thing, but here's a taste:
Plays in a 35-and-over league, also in any other league or ballpark that will have him, and a lot will.
Hates golf, but went to a charity golf event last Saturday, fell on his left wrist, so he's struggling with his money pitch, the yakker, the curve.
"I also play for 25-and-over teams, play on my son's team, he's 42, in Spokane. Play for the Russian National team every year. They come to Florida, buy up all the vodka in town and party for 10 days. I was so hammered, I fell and broke these two fingers (middle fingers on left hand) the day before the final playoff game, pitched with two broken fingers and a cut and went nine innings. Greatest game I ever threw. Got beat 2-1. Taking a bag of beer bottles out of the condo, slipped. Blood all over the place. You just take a lot of Advil and couple Celebrex and go get 'em."
Oh. So that's all it takes?