sunny.png
Thursday June 4th, 2020 3:50PM

Steve Dalkowski, inspiration for 'Bull Durham,' dies at 80

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Steve Dalkowski, a hard-throwing, wild left-hander whose minor league career inspired the creation of Nuke LaLoosh in the movie “Bull Durham," has died. He was 80.

He died Sunday at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. His sister, Patricia Cain, said Friday he had several pre-existing conditions that were complicated when he became infected with the new coronavirus. Dalkowski had been in assisted living for 26 years because of alcoholic dementia.

Dalkowski never reached the major leagues but was said to have thrown well over 100 mph. Long before velocity was tracked with precision, he spawned legends that estimated he approached 110 mph or 115 mph -- some said even 125 mph.

“Fastest I ever saw,” then-retired Ted Williams said after facing Dalkowski during batting practice at spring training in 1963, according to a first-person story by director and writer Ron Shelton.

Clyde King, the future big league manager and executive who worked with Dalkowski in the Orioles system, wrote in his 1999 autobiography “A King's Legacy” that Dalkowski had the best fastball among the thousands of pitchers he saw.

But Dalkowski's location was lacking.

He averaged 17.6 strikeouts and 18.7 walks per nine innings at Class D Kingsport in 1957, throwing 39 wild pitches in 62 innings as he went 1-8. That Aug. 31, he struck out 24 and walked 17 or 18 — records differ — in an 8-4 loss to Bluefield, hitting four and throwing six wild pitches.

At Class C Stockton in 1960. he struck out 262 and walked 262 in 170 innings. No matter what efforts he tried and the Orioles suggested, Dalkowski never mastered control.

“What if? But it wasn’t in the cards,” his sister said. “Stevie was wild. That was part of his thing.”

Shelton was a minor league infielder with the Orioles from 1967-71 and used the stories he heard about Dalkowski when he wrote and directed the 1988 movie “Bull Durham.”

Dalkowski signed with the Orioles in 1957 and remained in their minor league system until 1964. He finished with farm teams of the Pittsburgh Pirates and California Angels in 1965.

“They called him ‘Dalko’ and guys liked to hang with him and women wanted to take care of him and if he walked into a room in those days he was probably drunk,” Shelton wrote in his 2009 story, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times and The Sun in Baltimore.

"He had a record 14 feet long inside the Bakersfield, California, police station, all barroom brawls, nothing serious, the cops said. He rode the trucks out at dawn to pick grapes with the migrant farm workers of Kern County -- and finally couldn’t even hold that job.”

Dalkowski pitched and played quarterback at New Britain High School, setting a Connecticut high school record with 24 strikeouts in a game.

He was with the Orioles for big league spring training in 1963 when he injured his pitching arm. He never regained his former velocity.

“He was measured for a uniform in the morning and he was pitching against those damn Yankees in the afternoon and hurt his elbow,” his sister said.

Dalkowski’s minor league record was 46-80 with 1,324 strikeouts, 1,236 walks and 145 wild pitches over 956 innings in nine seasons, according to Baseball Reference.

Plagued by dementia, Dalkowski had lived since 1994 at New Britain’s Grandview Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, previously known as Walnut Hill Care Center.

“He was a piece of work, my brother. Even in the last few years when things are not so great, he still was fun to be around," Cain said. “He's going to be sorely missed, by not only myself, but by a lot of other people.”

Dalkowski married Virginia Billingsley in 1975, and his wife died in 1994. In addition to his sister, he is survived by nephews Daniel and David Lee, great niece Amanda Lee and great nephew Nicholas Lee.

His funeral will be private.

___

AP researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed to this report.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump: Postal Service must charge Amazon more, or no loan
President Donald Trump says he won’t approve a $10 billion loan for the U.S. Postal Service unless the agency raises charges for Amazon and other big shippers to four to five times current rates
5:02PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Linsanity finally gets another run on MSG Network next week
Linsanity is finally getting another run on MSG Network
4:57PM ( 16 minutes ago )
3 states ease lockdowns; US COVID-19 toll passes 50,000
Barber shops, salons and spas are reopening in Georgia and Oklahoma as their Republican governors ease shutdown orders despite warnings from health experts of a potential new surge of coronavirus infections
4:53PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Goff creates cap room for Rams to sign Floyd, Robinson
The Los Angeles Rams announced the signings of linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson after quarterback Jared Goff restructured his contract to create salary cap room
4:20PM ( 54 minutes ago )
U. of Michigan facing more legal action over alleged abuse
A legal team that says it represents more than 100 people who allege they were abused by a deceased University of Michigan sports doctor has taken the first step in filing a lawsuit against the school
3:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
UFC to hold 3 shows without fans in Jacksonville, Florida
The UFC is returning to competition on May 9 for three shows without fans in eight days in Jacksonville, Florida
3:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
'Major League' a hit with mix of antics, believable action
For all its goofy antics, exaggerated characters and memorable one-liners, “Major League” also stands out because the play on the field — especially at the end — feels reasonably authentic
1:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Dutch cancel rest of Eredivisie with no champ
The rest of the Dutch soccer league has been canceled and leading team Ajax won’t be declared the champion
12:47PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Nationals GM expects baseball season in 2020
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo expects a major league season in 2020
12:35PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
The Latest: Admiral recommends Crozier for reinstatement
Officials say the top Navy officer has recommended the reinstatement of the aircraft carrier captain fired for sending a fraught email to commanders pleading for faster action to protect his crew from a coronavirus outbreak
4:33PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Two states ease lockdowns; US COVID-19 toll passes 50,000
Barber shops, salons and spas are reopening in Georgia and Oklahoma as their Republican governors ease shutdown orders despite warnings from health experts of a potential new surge of coronavirus infections
4:29PM ( 44 minutes ago )
2nd French court orders Amazon to better protect workers
Amazon will keep its French warehouses closed for now
4:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Authorities close Walmart store after deaths
Health officials have ordered the immediate closure of a Walmart in suburban Denver after three people connected to the store died after being infected with the coronavirus and at least six employees tested positive
3:06PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP-NORC poll: Most losing jobs to virus think they’ll return
One out of every four American adults say someone in their household has lost a job to the coronavirus pandemic, but the vast majority expect those former jobs will return once the crisis passes
2:52PM ( 2 hours ago )
Georgia eases lockdown; US COVID-19 toll passes 50,000
Barber shops, nail salons, gyms and a few other businesses are reopening in Georgia as the Republican governor eases a month-long shutdown despite warnings from health experts of a potential new surge of coronavirus infections
2:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Meghan's lawsuit against British tabloid has court hearing
A British newspaper publisher has fought back against the Duchess of Sussex during a court hearing on her civil lawsuit against the company
12:51PM ( 4 hours ago )
A 'Phantom of the Opera' contest seeks singer with style
Andrew Lloyd Webber has launched a virtual competition that could lead to one fan singing on Broadway or the West End when musicals resume playing
12:22PM ( 4 hours ago )
Tye Tribbett sends positive vibes with song amid virus
Grammy-winning gospel singer Tye Tribbett has fused Kendrick Lamar’s hit song “Alright” into a new tune to send a message to people during the coronavirus pandemic: We are going to be all right
11:18AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
MLB, minors term talks constructive, stop sniping for now
The tone of talks for a new agreement governing the relationship between baseball’s major and minor leagues took a positive turn when the bickering sides met electronically for about an hour and later issued a joint statement that termed the session “constructive.”
10:55AM ( 1 day ago )
Red Sox lose draft pick, Cora banned in sign-stealing scams
The Boston Red Sox escaped severe penalties in Major League Baseball’s cheating scandal after Commissioner Rob Manfred concluded their violations were far less flagrant than those of the Houston Astros
2:13AM ( 1 day ago )
Red Sox stripped of pick, Cora banned in sign stealing scams
The Boston Red Sox got off lightly in Major League Baseball’s sign-stealing scandal after Commissioner Rob Manfred concluded their violations were far less flagrant than those of the Houston Astros
1:49AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
MLB can cut pay, lay off managers, coaches starting May 1
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has made a move that allows teams to lay off or cut the pay of major and minor league managers, coaches, trainers and full-time scouts
4:42PM ( 4 days ago )
Former Royals, Cubs manager Jim Frey dies at age 88
Former big league manager Jim Frey has died at age 88
1:39PM ( 1 week ago )
Glenn Beckert, 4-time All-Star for Cubs, dies at 79
Glenn Beckert, a four-time All-Star second baseman for the Chicago Cubs in the 1960s and ’70s, died Sunday
5:49PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Trump: Postal Service must charge Amazon more, or no loan
President Donald Trump says he won’t approve a $10 billion loan for the U.S. Postal Service unless the agency raises charges for Amazon and other big shippers to four to five times current rates
5:02PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Linsanity finally gets another run on MSG Network next week
Linsanity is finally getting another run on MSG Network
4:57PM ( 16 minutes ago )
3 states ease lockdowns; US COVID-19 toll passes 50,000
Barber shops, salons and spas are reopening in Georgia and Oklahoma as their Republican governors ease shutdown orders despite warnings from health experts of a potential new surge of coronavirus infections
4:53PM ( 21 minutes ago )
FDA warns of heart risks with Trump-promoted malaria drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning doctors against prescribing a malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus except in hospitals or research studies
4:52PM ( 21 minutes ago )
DraftKings debuts on Wall Street amid sports world lockdown
Sports daily fantasy and betting website DraftKings has made its stock market debut against a backdrop of a near-complete shutdown of athletic competition across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic
4:50PM ( 23 minutes ago )