May 8, 1989 |
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
Dinesh Patel (born May 8, 1989 in Lucknow, India) is a right-handed baseball pitcher that played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Along with Rinku Singh, he is the first Indian national ever to sign a contract with a major American sports club. Both Patel and Singh, had never thrown a baseball before besting over 37,000 competitors in The Million Dollar Arm, an Indian reality television show designed to find new baseball talent.
Due to extreme poverty and inability to meet the expenses of raising a child, Patel's parents had left him at his maternal grandmother's home in Khanpur. At the age of 14, he started visiting Sampurnanand Sports Stadium in Sigra where he met athletes and self trained for javelin throw. In 2004, he was selected for a regional sports hostel in Lucknow. Patel won a gold medal in javelin throw at the National School Games at Pune in 2006.
Professional Baseball Career
The pair tried out in front of scouts from 20 Major League Baseball teams in November 2008. Reports from Pittsburgh Pirates scouts Joe Ferrone and Sean Campbell led to general manager Neal Huntington signing both to contracts with the organization. With the deal, the pair became the first Indians to sign American major league baseball contracts. The total signing bonus for the two was $8,000. After training, the two returned to visit their families in India before entering Pirates training camp in Bradenton, Florida.
The 2009 GCL Pirates had nine players each from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, with the United States a distant third at six. There were the two highly publicized, pioneering Indian pitchers, Rinku Singh and Patel, a second baseman named Henry Henry from Colombia, two players from Puerto Rico, and one each from Mexico, Panama, Australia, Canada and one of the first three players ever signed out of South Africa, Gift Ngoepe, while one of the Americans, Chris Aure, is from Alaska. "We eat together in the cafeteria, but sometimes we try each other's foods," Ngoepe says. "I listen to the Indians' music when I go past their rooms, and they listen to my music from Africa. We tell each other stories about our home countries. We do everything together." "Everybody's the same here, like family," Venezuelan infielder Elevys Gonzalez says.
He had a successful, yet brief, 2009 season for the Pirates, picking up a victory on August 13 (exactly one month after his countryman Singh got his first, and only, win of the year) and finishing with a 1-0 record and 1.42 ERA, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits in 6.1 innings. Patel's 2010 season was less successful, with an 8.59 ERA in 7⅓ innings, over nine games; he was released in December 2010.
Patel taught school children baseball in Delhi for two days and in 2011, he helped his village boys prepare for the second season of the Million Dollar Arm talent hunt for about two months. He didn’t charge any money. When Patel returned to India he also went back to school because he dropped out of school when he got picked through Million Dollar Arm. In 2012, Patel said he was practicing javelin throw "seriously". Patel participated at the national athletics championship in Kolkata in 2011 and the Federation Cup athletics championship in April 2012. In 2012, Patel said, "My family's economical and emotional conditions have improved. I could renovate home in the village and my sister's wedding was arranged with the money that I sent home. My family gathered self esteem and respect in society. It is always good to see your near and dear ones happy.".
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