Friday, January 14, 2011
2010 Lancaster Barnstormers Jason Simontacchi
Who is this? Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Jason Simontacchi
What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 Lancaster Barnstormers team set
Where'd I get it? Simontacchi signed it for me at a Newark Bears game last year.
Why is this so special? Jason Simontacchi has had a very interesting career in baseball. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 21st round in 1996, but he only spent two seasons in their minor league system.
In 1998, Simontacchi was 10-2 with a 2.95 ERA for the Springfield Capitals, champions of the independent Frontier League. That got him another shot in affiliated ball, but it didn't work out in the Pittsburgh organization either.
In 2000, Simontacchi pitched in Italy. He also played in the Olympics for the Italian team. In 2001, he returned to America and had a lackluster season in the Minnesota Twins organization.
In 2002, Simontacchi finally had success in affiliated ball. He spent most of the season in the major leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning 11 and losing 5 as a 28-year-old rookie. Simontacchi remained with the Cardinals through 2004, but missed the 2005 season because of a shoulder injury.
In 2006 Simontacchi made his first appearance in the Atlantic League, pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish. That got him another shot at affiliated ball for 2007. In an injury-plagued season, Simontacchi went 6-7 for the Washington Nationals.
In 2008, Simontacchi returned to the Atlantic League as a member of the Long Island Ducks. I'm not sure if he sat out the 2009 season or if he played in Italy again, but I can't find any stats. Last year, Simontacchi pitched for the Lancaster Barnstormers. He was 5-7 with a 5.78 ERA.
Simontacchi's career 26-17 record may not seem that impressive, but it really is remarkable when you think about his baseball journey.
For a guy with a long name who's signed thousands of autographs over the years, he still has a pretty nice signature too.