Daniel Barone reached heights that San Benito County Little Leaguers dream of, pitching in the Major Leagues with the Florida Marlins in 2007. The late-season call-up went 1-3 that year with a 5.71 ERA in 41 innings and never again pitched on a mound in the majors, last taking the hill in the minors for the Oakland Athletics organization in 2009 before returning to Hollister to operate Barone's Baseball, a batting cage and instructional baseball business.
But the dream never quite went away. This year, his arm feeling rejuvinated, Barone the 6-foot-2, 31-year-old former San Benito High School pitcher decided to give baseball one more shot. This spring, the former Baler pitching coach arranged a return to baseball with the Independent League Kansas City T-Bones. Independent ball is usually the first or the last stop for baseball players looking to extend their careers. And if early results are an indication, Barone may have done that.
On Friday night, Barone improved to 2-0 in a 7-3 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. He had no walks and scattered seven hits in 7 2/3 innings to get the win. Just a few weeks ago, he was throwing batting practice to Baler baseball players at practice. Now, he's taking bus rides and living the humble existence that many players hope is a path to the majors.
For more information on Barone and the T-Bones, go to http://www.tbonesbaseball.com.