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With the baseball season underway, it’s a good time to look back at some of the ballplayers who hail from our area. There have been over 100 MLB players born in Rhode Island, including two born in Newport. In addition, eight managers, including Woonsocket native Rocco Baldelli who currently skippers the Minnesota Twins, were born here.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, only two players born in the city of Newport have played in the Major Leagues. Let’s meet them…
Frank Corridon was born November 25, 1880, in Newport and later attended Rogers High School. He pitched for the Cubs, Phillies, and Cardinals from 1904 to 1910, compiling a record of 70-67 with a respectable ERA of 2.80.
Corridon is one of several pitchers credited with creating the “spitball,” a pitch he developed while playing for the Providence Grays in the International League. He discovered the infamous pitch after a ball had landed in a puddle. He noticed that when the ball was wet on one side, it had an unexpected effect on its flight when he threw it. (The spitball has since been banned by Major League Baseball.)
Pat Combs, also a pitcher, was born in Newport on October 29, 1966. His family moved to Texas where he attended high school and later Baylor University before playing for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1989 to 1992. Combs compiled a respectable pitching record of 17-17, before retiring.
Combs has since worked as a player development consultant and in draft analysis, as well as other roles in the sports industry. In 2020, he published More Than The Score: How Parents and Coaches Can Cultivate Virtue in Youth Athletes. Combs’ son Casey is a catcher in the Miami Marlins organization.
Three Rhode Island-born players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and at least five have played in the annual All-Star game. Click here to learn more about those players.
And a reminder, college athletes who are aiming for the big leagues will be playing their hearts out at Cardines Field when the Newport Gulls start their season on June 7. Click here for more information.