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Home » Essential Empy & MetaFebruary 2006 » Aloha ‘Oe

Aloha ‘Oe

According to Baseball Reference, there have been 30 players born in Hawai‘i, the first being a 24-year old pitcher who made his major league debut and departure in the same year, 1914. Johnnie Williams, called “Honolulu Johnny,” was a right-handed pitcher who made three starts, lost two games, and had one complete game for the Detroit Tigers. Since then, there have been a few more players from the islands that have made bigger impacts, such as Sid Fernandez and Benny Agbayani, both of whom played in the World Series for the New York Mets, although separated by 14 years. Fernandez pitched in that World Series while Agbayani played in the 2000 Subway Series, affectionately known to everyone outside of the five boroughs as “Who Cares?” I cared enough to cheer on Benny. I was thrilled when he was picked up by the Red Sox in 2002.

As I have written before, I have a place in my heart for any kid from the islands that makes the big time. One player that made a tremendous showing in the 2004 College World Series for Cal State Fullerton was Kurt Suzuki. That same year Suzuki was drafted by Oakland in second round as the 67th pick overall, the first Hawaiian player to be drafted.

My thoughts are turning back to the islands becase I’ll be there for the next few weeks. I can’t imagine a more ideal and idyllic place to devise my fantasy league strategies for my first foray into the hobby. Also, sheer chance, USC will be playing UH for the first time since 1993 and the First Hawaii Title Rainbow Baseball Tournament will take place while I’m there. It will be a unique opportunity to scout some players. The baseball team of the University of Hawai‘i, my alma mater, is off to a strong start. The Rainbows won the season-opening series against Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State Aztecs 4-1 and are currently 6-2.


Hey, thanks for this post. I was looking at the Hawaii birth/death/buried list on retrosheet, and came across Joe DeSa. Cool, I thought, a player from a league me and my dad used to have, where we took baseball cards (this was like 1987) and used real players in a dice league--a league which was resurrected for a time last year.) Then I was surprsed to see DeSa's name in the "cemeteries" column. Turns out he died in a car crash in Puerto Rico in 1986! The whole time he was playing in "our league," he was deceased and we had no idea. Poor Joe.

Please make me an etching at his grave in Kaneohe, at Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery, when you are there. Just kidding. But it would be a nice thing for our league archives. I believe Joe played for the Nashville Tunes, in my dad's division, the "Deep South" division.

Have a GREAT time Joanna. We'll miss you.

Peter, you haven't gotten rid of me that easily. I will be blogging from the 50th state.

Jere, I am actually up for making that sojourn to Kaneohe. While I am here, I also plan to visit the gravesite of Alexander Cartwright, whose page I sponsor at Baseball Reference. If you have it, you can you send me more info on DeSa's plot and I can try and find it.

During the flight over, I re-read The Numbers Game by Schwarz. It's an excellent book that I recommend to anyone who loves baseball.

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