Originally published May 31, 2011; Updated June 2014
Tony Blasucci earned his promotion to AA Birmingham in late July 1987, posting nine saves and a 2.31 ERA.
The promotion left officials with his old team, single-A Daytona Beach only able to praise him and try and fill the hole left by his departure.
"We just knew if we were leading, 5-4, in the eighth inning," Daytona Beach owner Blake Cullen told The Orlando Sentinel of Blasucci, "that we were going to win."
But, while Blasucci would see himself promoted to AA, and later AAA, he would never see himself promoted to the majors.
Blasucci's career began in 1983, taken by the Pirates in the first round of the June draft out of Florida State University.
He played his first year at short-season Watertown, going 1-7 in 14 starts, with a 3.84 ERA. From there, Blasucci moved to single-A Macon and Prince William, posting an ERA of 5.54 between them.
He returned to Prince William for an abbreviated one-game season
in 1985, and a longer, but still abbreviated 1986, with seven outings
between Prince William and short-season Tri-Cities, marking his last
season in the Pirates system.
That promotion to Birmingham in 1987 marked Blasucci's first time spent above single-A, in his first year in the White Sox system.
promotion came after a stretch with single-A Daytona Beach where
Blasucci saved four games in the span of one week. In that fourth save, The Sentinel wrote, Blasucci came in with the bases loaded in the eighth, coming up with a strike out to end the frame.
At Birmingham that year, Blasucci continued that good pitching, posting an ERA of 2.70 in 12 outings.
Going into 1988, Blasucci was even mentioned by The Chicago Tribune as among a group competing for a bullpen job in Chicago. But Blasucci spent the year largely back at AA Birmingham.
He did get a look at AAA with Vancouver, not allowing a run in two innings of work there. Between the two, Blasucci posted a stellar 0.74 ERA in 24 total outings.
In 1989, Blasucci spent 26 games at Vancouver and another 13 back at Birmingham. He picked up nine saves between them, five at Birmingham and four at Vancouver. His fourth at Birmingham was a four-out save in May. At Vancouver, though, he posted an ERA of 3.75, unable to get a call up to the White Sox.
final year in pro ball was his next one, 1990. Signing with the
Mariners, Blasucci started off the season at AAA Calgary, striking out eight in four innings
of work April 9. But it wasn't enough, he spent the year between
Calgary and AA Williamsport, posting an ERA of 4.15 on the season to end
Blasucci passed away May 28, 2014, from injuries suffered in a boating accident.
The Greatest 21 Days caught up with Tony Blasucci in January 2012, read the three-part interview: Tony Blasucci, Pumped Up