May 8, 1989 |
Dinesh Kumar Patel (born May 8, 1989 in Lucknow, India) is an Indian right-handed baseball pitcher who played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Along with Rinku Singh, he was the first Indian national ever to sign a contract with a major American sports club. Neither Patel nor Singh had ever thrown a baseball before beating 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 to be reared by his maternal grandmother in Khanpur. At the age of 14, he started visiting Sampurnanand Stadium in Sigra where he met athletes and trained himself to throw the javelin. 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
Patel, along with Singh, 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.
Patel, along with Singh, played for the Pirates' Gulf Coast League team. 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 61⁄3 innings. Patel's 2010 season was less successful, with an 8.59 ERA in 71⁄3 innings, over nine games; he was released in December 2010 and returned home to finish school.
Patel began to teach baseball in Delhi 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 did not charge any money. After his return, Patel was also "seriously" practicing the javelin. 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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- "Dinesh Patel Stats". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
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- "Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm" begins production film shooting in India, Georgia and Los Angeles" (Press release). The Walt Disney Studios. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Million-Dollar Arm blog
- SAJA call-in web radio show with Dinesh Patel, Rinku Singh and JB Bernstein, November 2008