Friday, October 15, 2010
#360) DON AASE
Don Aase signed with the New York Mets as a free agent on February 20, 1989. The veteran right-hander had missed all of the 1988 season following shoulder surgery. "I'm a whale," Don said when asked about his return to the major-leagues. "Every once in a while I surface."
Aase made his Mets debut throwing two scoreless innings at Shea Stadium on April 3, 1989. He was credited with the save during Dwight Gooden's Opening Day victory. Don would make 49 appearances in his only season in New York and register a 1-5 record, 3.94 ERA, and two saves.
He left the Mets when he signed as a free agent with the Dodgers on February 20, 1990. Don would retire from baseball following one season in Los Angeles.
Aase first began doing volunteer work for the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation when he moved to Baltimore in 1985. Ironically, when Don and his wife Judy were expecting their third child in 1986, doctors told them once born the baby would suffer from that very disease. "I did a lot of praying," Don said. "I suffered through the worst three months of my life. Nothing else I've experienced has come close." Miraculously his son Kelby was born with perfect health. "We were astounded, happy you name it," said Aase. "It's one of those things that you don't talk about because words just don't describe how you feel." Kelby became a standout left-handed pitcher for Esperanza High School and later threw for both Fullerton Junior College and UNLV. "I think it's harder to sit and watch your son play," Don explained, "than it is to be out there doing it yourself."
I purchased this signed index card from the legendary autograph guy, Jack Smalling and converted it into Don Aase's card in the set in January 2009. Jack's website is www.baseballaddresses.com.