- Baldelli's father is a retired firefighter
He is humble and modest
He was an excellent student, even tutoring other students in physics
On March 31, 2003, Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli were the first 21-year-old (or younger) players to start in an Opening Day lineup since Greg Luzinski (21) and Mike Anderson (20) of the Phillies in 1972
The last team to have two 21-year-old teammates start on Opening Day was the 1997 Marlins, who had shortstop Edgar Renteria and second baseman Luis Castillo. But the standard for two rookies breaking in together remains Fred Lynn (age 23) and Jim Rice (22) in 1975. Lynn hit .331-21-105 while Rice hit .309-22-102. Those are numbers that will probably never be matched by two rookies on the same team.
During the 2003 season, Baldelli's teammates played a good amount of tricks of him, all part of the rookie hazing
"I had no idea," Baldelli said. "Someone said something and I remember looking back but I saw what looked like a B, and I was like, "What are you talking about?' I guess it was an R." The teasing was went up a notch because Baldelli was wearing a microphone and being followed by a camera crew from "This Week in Baseball."
"I think Steve Parris was behind that; I'll call him out," Baldelli said. "I'm sure a lot of other people were, too." With his teammates eagerly watching, Baldelli wore the substitute jersey in the field for the first inning. Umpire Ed Rapuano told him about it on his way off the field, and he switched before he batted. "I didn't know what he was talking about," Baldelli said. "I'm like, 'Are you serious?' And I came in and everybody was laughing at me."
Rocco's eyes are not good
He underwent laser eye surgery to correct his vision. And he loves the difference it has made.
During the off-season before 2004 spring training, Rocco took a December trip to Italy to see Rome
On another trip with friends to the Bahamas, he was star-struck to run across Tara Reid, Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras and Wayne Gretzky.
Baldelli gets his even temperment from his mother, Michelle
"My Dad is probably the stereotypical older Italian guy," Baldelli said. "That's him, but he just wants the best. I try to stay the same everyday, because it's the right way to go. If you start worrying and panicking every time something goes wrong, you're going to be a mess for eight months." (Jerry Crasnick-Baseball America-5/17/04)
September 27-30, 2004: Rocco missed three games for what the team said was a family matter
June 15, 2006: Making the most of his extended time on the D
In 2006, Baldelli was nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award
In 2007, Baldelli won the Roger Maris Award presented by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association
Rocco says the band he'd like to be on stage with is: "Weezer
He doesn't go shopping at the mall, like most other baseball players. "I prefer to do my shopping online."
How about a dream date? "Michelle Williams, the actress," Rocco said. (Marc Topkin-St. Petersburg Times-8/24/08)
Baldelli is polite, almost shy, when dealing with the media
Rocco won't admit to rooting hard for the Red Sox or even the Providence Friars when he was growing up
In 2009, Red Sox G
"It was a pleasure having him here," Theo said. “He always worked as hard as he possibly could to be ready. He always communicated well with Tito and the staff to let them know when there were days he wasn’t fully available.
“It’s a shame this guy has some of these limitations that are beyond his control because he gets the absolute most out of himself. He’s awesome as a player to have around.’’
During his comeback early in the second half of the 2010 season, Rocco was reflective about his career. He was humble as a budding star, and stoic as a declining athlete. He is not the type to casually spill his heart, but his down-to-earth attitude and gracious manner have shone through all of his setbacks. Baldelli has been through more than most of us will ever know, and there is an appreciation in the bleachers for the way he has handled it all.
"As a player, early in my career especially, you try not to think about anything besides what you have to do on the field "By now, I'm to the point where I can look at it — and I don't like to think I'm some big thing that people out in the public care about — but I've met a lot of people and been in contact with a lot of people in the St
"As a player, early in my career especially, you try not to think about anything besides what you have to do on the field. So you don't really think about how people perceive you. Honestly, you don't even care," Baldelli said. "My priority was never to be the most loved player out there. But, you know what, over time you start to realize there are a lot of people out there who care about you and who wish the best for you. It's something that takes time for you to appreciate.
"By now, I'm to the point where I can look at it — and I don't like to think I'm some big thing that people out in the public care about — but I've met a lot of people and been in contact with a lot of people in the St. Pete-Tampa area, and everywhere to be honest. And it took a little time, but I think I do know now that there are a lot of people out there pulling for me, and it makes me feel good." (John Romano-St. Petersburg Times-7/23/10)
Fun Facts: 1) Rocco breeds thoroughbred horses
2) In high school, Rocco got a very high score on his SAT and was even considering attending Yale.
3) Rocco plays the bass guitar.
4) Baldelli learned about baseball analytics and scouting after he retired and then helped build the Rays’ current baseball operations department.
June 2000: The Rays made Rocco their first round pick, and signed him for $2
November 9, 2005: Baldelli signed a six-year contract, worth as much as $33 million with the Devil Rays
October 30, 2008: Rocco filed for free agency
On November 25, 2008, Baldelli won the 19th annual Tony Conigliaro Award, which is presented to a Major League player who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage that were trademarks of Tony C
January 7, 2008: Rocco agreed to a contract with the Red Sox
November 5, 2009: Baldelli filed for free agency
March 2, 2010: Rocco became a special assistant with the Rays