Today is San Diego native and former Padres pitcher John D’Acquisto’s birthday. It is also my Dad’s birthday but, I figured that a whole post about my Dad probably wouldn’t work on a San Diego Padres website. Especially because his only connection to the Padres is having made 50% of the Editor of Friars on Base. But, Happy Birthday, Harold Green! Let’s see Chelsea top this present!
But I digress.
John D’Acquisto was a fireballer. In his rookie season of 1974, John was clocked at 102.4 mph on the official Dodger Stadium radar gun. The great Bill James had this to say about D’Acquisto:
“In any five-year period, there are forty guys who are claimed by somebody to be as fast as Walter Johnson, or as fast as Bob Feller, or as fast as Nolan Ryan, as fast as whoever the standard is at the moment. People made the same exact sort of comments about Pete Broberg that they did about David Clyde. We have the same kind of quotes about Gary Gentry, claiming he was as fast as Ryan. The fastest known radar reading from that era, other than Nolan Ryan, was for John D’Acquisto.” – The Mighty Fastball By Bill James
D’Acquisto pitched 10 years in the big leagues, four of them with the Padres after being traded from the Cardinals in May of 1977. Like a lot of pitchers who throw extremely hard, John was also extremely wild. In 1976 with the Giants, he struck out 53 batters while walking 102 in 106 innings pitched. Of course, this was after his first elbow surgery following years of arm pain. Eventually John’s elbow pain would cause him to retire after a career in which he had a 34-51 record, 4.56 ERA, 1.606 WHIP, 600 K and 544 BB in 779 innings pitched. In 1974, John had begun to work for Bank of America in the off season and had a very nice job to step right into.
John became an investment advisor and was making a very nice life for himself until the Securities and Exchange Commission brought him up on investment fraud charges in 1996. He was sentenced to 63 months in prison. John was later cleared of all charges after it was found that he was made to take the fall for the actual culprit who stole $22 Million. After leaving prison John turned his life around (if that’s the term that you use for someone who didn’t actually do anything to begin with). He received his Ph.D. in Exercise Science and Physiology with a focus in biomechanics from Rochville University in 2004. John is currently the Director of West Coast Operations for Sorganics, Inc., an organic fertilizer company focused on removing cancer causing ingredients in fertilizer.
After over coming several obstacles along the way, John D’Acquisto is going to retire pretty soon. He had some great years in Major League Baseball, especially his Rookie of the Year season in 1974. He made the most of a bad situation by finishing his degree following his incarceration. Now, he can look back at his 62 years with pride as he finishes up his career with Sorganics. Happy Birthday Dr. John D’Acquisto!
Happy Birthday again, to my Dad, Harold Green! Thank you for giving me the love of sports and my unending quest for knowledge. You are the smartest person that I know. You are the father that I strive to be.
Sorry your present is gonna suck compared to this, Chelsea.