Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

An Australian Yankee Pitcher Mark Hutton Proves That Not All Baseball Is American

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

An Australian Yankee Pitcher Mark Hutton Proves That Not All Baseball Is American

Article excerpt

IT was a sight as rare as kangaroos in the Bronx: an Australian starting pitcher in the major leagues.

Fair Dinkum! ("Honest" in Australian.)

Wearing the New York Yankee pinstripes was 6 ft., 6 in. right-hander Mark Hutton from South Adelaide, Australia.

The big Aussie had dominated the California Angels on July 23 in his first start, then had trouble with Detroit and Toronto before the Yankees sent him back to their Columbus AAA club Aug. 5. In his short hop to the majors, he compiled a respectable 4.60 earned-run average with nine strikeouts in 15.2 innings.

The Yankees say Hutton's short trip to the Bronx gave the Aussie an idea of what he needs to do to make a permanent leap to the big leagues. Hutton may well be back in the Bronx once the Yankees - with bullpen problems - figure out their pitching needs.

The prospect of an Aussie in pinstripes excited the local media. After his California win, New York Newsday wrote "G'Day Mate" in a headline and called his performance "Aussome." Yankee media managers reported that Hutton was barraged with interview requests, including Australian television shows eager to talk with a Down Under bloke throwing strikes at the "Yanks," the Aussie term for Americans.

The publicity was starting to get to Hutton, who said he sometimes wished he was not from Australia because it seemed to be the focal point for the media. "Sometimes I just wish they would leave it alone," he said in his broad Australian accent.

AS more Australians play in the big leagues, he may get his wish. The first Australian in the majors was utility player Joe Quinn, who played from 1884 to 1901 for St. Louis and Boston. Aussie infielder Craig Shipley joined the Padres in 1986.

Currently, the Milwaukee Brewers have two Australians on their team - catcher Dave Nilsson and relief pitcher Graeme Lloyd. The Toronto Blue Jays have four scouts sending reports from Down Under.

"We realize now the Australians are developing athletes who can compete," says Cito Gaston, the Blue Jays' manager.

Australian baseball, with roots reaching back into the 19th century, got an impetus in the 1940s from American soldiers stationed there. …

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