Tim Fortugno’s path to a Major League life was an unlikely one. He’d played in high school, but didn’t seem to have much shot at the Majors. But as Danny Knobler told it in a Bleacher Report article, Tim threw around a tennis ball during his lunch hour on a construction job as a 20-year-old, which led to him joining the baseball team at Southern California College.
He was drafted multiple times, but didn’t end up signing due to shoulder pain. After a bout of acupuncture seemed to heal Tim’s shoulder, he landed with the Mariners on a $500 signing bonus.
Fortugno was eventually traded to the Phillies, who went on to sell his contract to the Brewers for $2,500 and 12 dozen baseballs. The Angels snagged the lefty in the Rule 5 draft, and in 1992 Fortugno made his MLB debut at the age of 30.
In his second big league appearance, Tim pitched the game of his life: a complete game, 12 strikeout, 129 pitch masterpiece against a vaunted Tigers lineup featuring Tony Phillips, Travis Fryman, Cecil Fielder, and Mickey Tettleton. Toward the end of that season, Tim gave up George Brett’s 3,000th hit – only to pick him off first base.
Tim bounced around after that, eventually finishing his career in Taiwan. Despite pitching only 110 1/3 innings over three seasons with the Angels, Reds, and White Sox, Fortugno can list Brett, Roberto Alomar, Don Mattingly, and Edgar Martinez among his strikeout victims.
After his pitching career, Fortugno moved into scouting. He spent seven years with the Rangers and 14 with the Mets, and has worked for the Rays since October 2019.
Tim chatted with MLBTR readers today, providing many interesting answers about a life in scouting. Click here to read the transcript.
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He’s a former major league player with over 20 years of scouting experience and is currently working for one of the most respected front offices in terms of scouting, drafting, and analytics… if you’re a baseball fan AT ALL, this is the kind of guy you want to talk to.
Thanks for the high effort comment, Finatic!
Maybe because he backstory could be a Disney movie?
Finatic has outed themselves as a troll
Quite a story. Fortugno throwing a tennis ball around at work, getting signed for a $500 bonus, and being traded for “$2,500 and 12 dozen baseballs” made this read more like April Fool’s Day feature than the real life baseball story that it apparently is.
Though I think the “quantity” of answers is lower in this chat, the “quality” is some of the best I’ve seen. Thank you for giving so many well thought answers on a variety of topics Tim!
Never knew Pete Carrol had a brother.
Man, maybe he can let Frankie Montas know who his acupuncturist is because no doctor can seem to figure out what’s wrong with him.
Also, is it me or does he look like Richard Gere in the photo?
I’m siding with MortDingle and going with Pete Carroll!
Pete Carroll! Dead on, man. Good call. Definitely a Carroll doppelgänger. We must’ve posted at the same time because Mort’s statement wasn’t there when I posted. I like the Carroll comparison better than mine too.
I’m sure you were very Fortugnate to have him.
This guy does have quite the story. Hopefully he gets his memoirs/book published.
I remember getting a ton of duplicates of Fortugno’s ’93 Fleer Baseball card
Pretty fun answers.