Baseball insiders have noted that often times the best pitchers in the league are among the tallest players on the team’s roster. Without question that’s the case for Westport native Jon Rauch. At 6’11 Rauch stands as the tallest athlete ever in major league baseball.
Adorned with a plethora of tattoos and notable facial hair, Rauch might not be the image of a gold medal Olympian to everybody but for baseball fans they know better, after watching Rauch deliver his trademark ability and work ethic to the American team in the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
However, Rauch’s tale starts at Oldham County High School, where more than his size caught the attention of college scouts, and sure enough Kentucky college; Morehead State University offered Rauch a baseball scholarship.
A seemingly instant standout with Morehead, the Chicago White Sox ballclub drafted the young pitcher during the 1999 amateur draft.
For the next few years Rauch bounced around the Sox and their farm system, until he got a permanent position on the major league roster in 2004.
In major league ball club’s constant trading of upcoming talent though, the Sox traded the now major leaguer to the Montreal Expos. Most notably in Montreal, considering the stigma concerning pitcher’s bats in general, Rauch cracked a homerun against pitching hall of famer, Roger Clemens (then with the Houston Astros).
It wasn’t long before the Expos found themselves in the middle of a switch, relocating to Washington, becoming the Nationals. Concerned about Rauch’s inexperience the ball club sent him to the minors, where he quickly excelled and was put back on a major league roster not long after beginning play with the farm team, this time as a Washington National, In fact, Rauch actually won the National’s first game in Nationals Park.
The following years Rauch made his way via trades to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins, finally arriving with his current team, The Toronto Blue Jays.
Image courtesy of Twins Talk