Leaguer Danny Almonte Pitches a Perfecto
Most pitchers dream of pitching a perfect game, for Little Leaguer Danny Almonte, a southpaw from the Dominican Republic, for the Rolando Paulino All-Stars (Bronx,) that dream came true-but then was snatched away because of his father’s illegal actions.
Almonte’s 77 mph, 2, and four seam fastballs, as well as being able to pitch sharp curves and changeups. Almonte’s 77 mph fastball is the equivalent of a 92 mph fastball, since the little league mound is just 46 feet away, compared to the sixty feet six inches it is in Major League baseball. Almonte’s pitching ability was so great that he was nicknamed “the little unit” after Arizona Diamondback Randy Johnson. During the Eastern Regional final, Almonte pitched a no-hitter against the Bristol, CT team. He later won all four games that he pitched. In fact, Danny Almonte was so good at what he did that he managed to pitch a perfect game, the first in forty-four years! He pitched this gem against the Apopka team, on August 18th.
In the four games that Almonte did pitch he gave up just one (unearned) run and three hits. Even more spectacular, he struck out 62 of the 72 batters that he faced!
Little league officials had followed the correct procedures in investigating the player’s ages. However, there was so much speculation over Almonte’s true age, (players that are older than 12, are not allowed to play, according to Little League rules,) they submitted birth certificates to a district administrator, who later certified Danny Almonte’s age as 12.
Still, after seeing Almonte’s superb performance, some adults associated with the Staton Island team, were so suspicious of Almonte, and the rest of the teams age, that they paid a private investigator to $10,000 to look into the Paulino players actual ages. The investigator found nothing. However, the investigator did not look (or even inquire) in the civil records building in Moca or Santo Domingo.
Almonte’s birth date, according to Moca records, is April 7, 1987. However, the birth records that little league director, Lance Van Auken, pulled out stated that Almonte was born on April 7, 1989. Regarding all of the speculation, a Sports Illustrated reporter looked into the Santo Domingo office, indexed the correct book, (Dominican Republic birth records are kept in large 9-by-11-inch books,) and discovered that the original birth records stated that Danny was born April 7, 1987. That means that Almonte was actually fourteen years old, not twelve.
So how did this happen, how were their two birth records for one person? What happened was that Almonte’s father, Felipe, registered his son’s birth date again-just before he hit the states and became the sensation that he is now recognized as. When shown this evidence, Paulino stated that the document that they held was the official birth record and was legal. Paulino tried to protect his star player at all costs, but in the end, the Sports Illustrated reporter’s finding turned out to be the proof, and the Bronx team was ripped of their winnings, and perhaps more importantly, Danny Almonte’s Perfect Game. A dream that every little boy has, became a reality, and then was taken away, as a result of his father’s actions.