June 13, 2021
Pat DeMaio was the beloved Husband of our Lodge member Melinda DeMaio. Melinda has given me permission to print this story. Thank you Melinda.
One-time Red Sox farmhand Pat DeMaio passed away in 2015 at age 75. He attended West Haven High, raised a family in Orange and in between was perhaps the greatest pitcher Quinnipiac has ever seen. He won 20 games, lost only one. In 1962 he signed with the Boston Red sox and he continued his professional career in the Carolina League and the New York Pen League where he recorded a 16-10 Record. He was a workhorse on minor-league teams that included future big leaguers Jim Lonborg and George Scott.
Dan Gooley recalls arriving as a freshman to pitch for Quinnipiac in 1966 and hearing endless talk from coaches and administrators about their former ace, who’d graduated five years earlier.
“They all said if you want to be like somebody, be like Pat DeMaio,” says Gooley. “The problem was, at the time, I didn’t know who he was.”
Gooley, who would eventually break Quinnipiac’s career strikeouts record and coach the Bobcats for parts of four decades, realized what the fuss was about the following summer. While warming up in the bullpen prior to a West Haven Twilight League game, an excitable gentleman wearing glasses with thick black frames appeared from behind the right-field fence at Painter Park. It was DeMaio, recently released by the Red Sox and back in town to pitch for the opposing Sacred Heart Yankees.
“He said, ‘OK, I’m here. I’ll be ready to go in a few minutes,’” Gooley said. “We didn’t have a chance. It was like Custer at Little Big Horn. He maybe gave up one hit, struck out 12 in seven innings. It was the only night I saw him work, but I’ll never forget it my whole life. He was like a man pitching against Little Leaguers.”