ARCATA (Oct. 6) — The road to the Major Leagues is usually long and winding, and for at least two of them, it included a drive through the redwoods.
Two former Humboldt Crabs, Brett Pill (2003) and Vinnie Pestano (2004), made their mark on Major League Baseball in 2011, for the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians respectively.
After apperaing in five games in 2010, Pestano was a fixture in the Cleveland bullpen this past season, throwing 62 innings in 67 appearances and posting a 2.32 ERA, 84 strikeouts to just 24 walks and a 1.05 WHIP.
Pill, the subject of an in-depth cover story in this week's North Coast Journal, had to wait a long time to reach the big leagues, but wasted no time making his mark when he got there.
Pill was called up on Aug. 31 when the Giants decided to part ways with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada. When he stepped up to the plate for his first MLB at-bat against the Padres on Sept. 6, this happened:
When Pill talked to Eric Gourley for his NCJ story, he was quick to credit the Crabs for helping jump-start his career.
“Playing summer ball in Arcata was just an awesome atmosphere, a great experience,” the soft-spoken Pill said. “It was a good place to really start my career. Arcata was the first place where I got to play every day. I was kind of a walk-on in college, and I needed to play in a starting line-up. That’s where Humboldt really helped me.”
The Crabs congratulate both Pill and Pestano on their accomplishments, and wish them even more success in the future.