In his April 2013 Atavist story The Legends of Last Place, Abe Streep brought us the saga of the Santa Fe Fuego, a minor-minor-league baseball team whose lackluster performance in 2012 earned it the distinction of being the last-ranked team in all of professional baseball. At the time, the Fuego’s pitcher was Rod Tafoya, at 47 the oldest active professional baseball player in the game. Before joining the Fuego, Tafoya had spent years pitching in various semi-professional baseball leagues, in singleminded pursuit of a goal he had imposed on himself: Before he retired, he vowed, he would win 300 semi-pro baseball games.
On his Facebook page, Tafoya, now pitching for the semi-pro Albuquerque Yankees, informs us that he finally hit the 300 mark yesterday with the Yankees’ victory over the Albuquerque Colt 45s—which seems like as good an excuse as any to revisit Streep’s wonderful, funny and occasionally heartbreaking portrayal of the pitcher and his teammates.
An excerpt from The Legends of Last Place, by Abe Streep: