Jason Maoz of the Jewish Press recently published a heartfelt appreciation of all baseball has meant to him since the summer Tom Seaver (the Matt Harvey of his day, I hear) began to illuminate our landscape. Maoz has been a faithful Mets fan going back more than 45 years now, and as such, has never forgotten a particular kindness bestowed on him by a pitcher who proved mighty terrific in his own way one sparkling evening at Shea Stadium.
[J]ust as we were about to dejectedly make our way up to the cheap seats, a stubble-jawed player who’d been watching us from the edge of the infield walked over and said, “Hey, wait a sec, guys.”
And so it was that Daniel Vincent Frisella, a spot starter and reliever who, though having a fine season, would never quite fulfill his potential, spent the next ten minutes signing every yearbook, scorecard and baseball thrust in his face, chatting away as if he were an old friend of ours.
Danny Frisella was the righthanded complement to Tug McGraw in Gil Hodges’s 1971 bullpen. Together, they pitched more than 200 innings, struck out more than 200 batters and totaled 19 wins to go with 20 saves — while each reliever kept his earned run average below two. Like Gil and Tug, Danny is, sadly, long gone. Yet knowing the spirit of his deed lives on every bit as indelibly as his stats reassures one about…I don’t know…maybe it’s that the intersection of baseball and humanity makes for a ceaselessly fascinating boulevard; maybe it’s that bullpens are historically bastions of decency; maybe it’s just something nice to think about on a night when once again there was no game and not much else to be happy about. Take your pick. It’s a sweet story in a very thoughtful essay and I hope you read it here.