Kernan: Legendary flameout Steve Dalkowski and his 110 mph fastball

From Kevin Kernan at the New York Post on July 6, 2013, with mention of SABR member Pat Gillick:

Davey Johnson has seen everything in baseball, but he never saw anyone with an arm like Steve Dalkowski’s left arm.

Here’s what happened exactly 50 years ago this summer when Johnson was teammates with the pitcher, who could throw a baseball harder than anyone else alive.

“Steve was a dandy. He had these big Coke-bottle glasses. His fastball was unbelievable,’’ Johnson told The Post, a smile crossing his face as he relived the memory. “We were teammates in Elmira.

“One day we were in the outfield and he’s running and I stopped him and said, ‘Hey Steve, can you throw the ball through the fence?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’

“Now, this was a wooden fence, 1-by-6,’’ Davey said. “Steve picked up a ball, and fffttt, he threw it through the fence.’’

Such is the legend of Steve Dalkowski, the hardest-throwing pitcher who never made it to the major leagues.

Considering the hard life he has lived, it’s amazing Dalkowski is still alive, but here he is sitting in the lobby of the Walnut Hill Care Center in his hometown of New Britain, Conn., just up the block from where he once struck out 24 batters in a game for the New Britain High Hurricanes against New London High.

Every major league team had a scout there that day in 1957, and Dalkowski signed with the Orioles for $13,000 and was given a new blue-and-white Pontiac.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 9, 2013. Last Updated: July 9, 2013.