For those of you who are not regular readers and are for whatever reason just checking into this FanSided Sports Network blog today, know that it is dedicated not just to coverage of the Ravens, Orioles and Baltimore area collegiate sports, we are also interested in writing about all sorts of Maryland sports – including Maryland high schools.
So with the Baltimore Orioles picking up Cumberland, Maryland native Aaron Laffey this week on a minor league contract, understand that it has more interest within this Baltimore Wire three-month old blog than just a baseball story about a low-level signing.
Understand also that I am writing this from Williamsport, MD, which is an hour west of Baltimore and D.C. I think of myself as living in western Maryland, but one can still travel at least another 90 minutes west of my area before leaving the state. Allegany County, where Laffey is from, is in that far western section of the state.
Former Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed in a car crash five years ago after his first start of his rookie season, is from my town and the high school where my boys attended and where I was a coach (in running sports).
For local people in my area, the name Aaron Laffey brings to memory an epic high school playoff game 11 years ago. It pitted Allegany High School’s Aaron Laffey against Williamsport’s Nick Adenhart in the 1A quarterfinals of the state playoffs. These were the two best pitchers in Maryland squaring off against each other, and it was a game for the ages. Laffey was a senior, Adenhart a junior. More than a dozen scouts were at the game.
Nick gave up an unearned run in the second inning on a HBP, a steal of second base with the throw skipping into center that allowed the runner to third, and a score on a sacrifice bunt. He then struck out the next 10 batters and finished the game with a no-hitter.
Laffey matched Adenhart, and then some. He also had a string of 10 consecutive strikeouts, totaling 18 for the game, as compared to Nick’s 14. The final score was a 1-0 victory for Allegany.
Laffey had previously committed to Virginia Tech, but instead went into rookie ball in 2003 within the Indians organization. He made his MLB debut on 8/4/07 against the Twins, and pitched for Cleveland for a total of four seasons. Laffey has also pitched for the Mariners, Yankees, Blue Jays and Mets.
His career numbers are not extraordinary. Laffey has pitched 487 innings in 153 games with a record of 25-29 and ERA of 4.45.
This story is a reminder to all of us out here who are critics and who may at times say some rather negative and derogatory things about players on the fringes of MLB. But to even be on the fringe, to even have played for a variety of organizations over a decade … one has to be an extraordinarily good talent to get that far. Laffey is a gifted young man from our state – whether he ever pitches in “The Bigs” again for the Orioles or anyone else.