Old Guys Playing Baseball?

saintslogoSo today, the St. Paul Saints are having their yearly try-outs in which they take all comers. Yes, it is snowing  – which is why I think they postponed the activity from yesterday to today – but from what I have heard, they are going ahead today. At least the website still says that they are going today.

So if you’re dying to play professional baseball and think you have the stuff, you should head over to Midway Stadium – at least if you’re young and vigorous, right?

Paul Risso pitch_400
Paul Risso, a 60-year-old pitcher from New Mexico who will try out for the St. Paul Saints on Thursday, May 2, 2013, is shown pitching during the Mens Senior Baseball League – Phoenix 55+ World Series in a 2009 photo. (Photo courtesy of Paul Risso)

So here’s the thing. One of the guys who will be “auditioning” today is 60 yo Paul Risso. Yes, you read that right. He’s 6-0 years old – as in “born in 1952.”

According to the Pioneer Press story, Risso had a promising career back in college when kids normally are drafted to play professional baseball: son of Giants prospect, Albert Risso; promising right-handed pitcher from San Mateo College in California; drafted by they Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round; but… A torn rotator cuff ended all that in 1973 as they didn’t have the medical technology to make those diagnoses or repairs.

Paul Risso mug_200
Paul Risso, a 60-year-old pitcher from New Mexico who will try out for the St. Paul Saints on Thursday, May 2, 2013, in a 2011 photo. (Photo courtesy of Paul Risso)

Mr. Risso went on with life without baseball as a civil engineer but always with the shoulder pain that had killed the baseball option – that is until about 10 years ago. For whatever reason, the shoulder had repaired itself, gotten stronger and the pain went away so… he started throwing again. He still throws a fastball around 84 miles an hour, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Risso is the oldest player ever to try out for the Saints but he’s certainly not the only “old guy” who wants to play baseball over there. And he’s NOT the oldest guy to actually play for the Saints. Other senior players include a 53 yo Knuckleballer (always a fav) named Jon Secrist and Minnie Minoso who was signed each in 1993 and 2003 with at-bats as a designated hitter so he could record professional play in 7 decades. Minoso is now 87 years old and you wonder if maybe they’ll throw him out there now that it’s 2013 to give him one more decade to make 8.

Of course, those are names none of you have ever even heard of so who else wants to play for the Saints this year? According FSN, Jose Conseco. Anyone else think it would be more entertaining to have Minoso again? At least Conseco is honest enough to admit that he is making the proposal purely for promotions’ sake – although whether it’s for his OWN promotion or the team would be hard to differentiate.

And the Saints have been known to do crazier things with players on the backside of their careers. Darryl Strawberry was attempting a legitimate comeback, which worked since he ended up back with the Yankees the next year.

jim-thome-25-mlbSo with all this attention to the Saints possible roster additions, has anyone reminded them that our dear friend, Jim Thome doesn’t have a home yet?? Now THAT would sell WAAAAAAY more tickets than Jose Conseco. Anyone have his email address??

I’m all for it! Let’s get some Old Guys Playing Baseball!