In four years at Harvard right-hander Bob Kalinoski has sustained a broken collarbone, two torn cartilages, a broken finger, water on the knee, and phlebitis of the calf. "This may sound funny, but I have a strong arm," Kalinoski said.
Despite a health record that would amaze the Medical School, the senior hurler spent this spring astonishing baseball hitters with that strong arm and leading the Crimson pitching staff. Over three seasons, Kalinoski compiled a 10-1 record and this year became the first recipient of the Coach's Award, presented for team spirit and contribution.
"I just can't say enough in praise of Kalinoski," coach Loyal Park said. "He caried the team over the hump when we needed him."
Park was referring to the fact that Kalinoski, originally stationed in the bullpen, came on in mid-season to pitch 26 innings in three starting appearances, winning every game.
"We had complete confidence in him," teammate John Ignacio said.
"Even more importantly, he had confidence in himself. Bob thought he could start, and once he did he was great."
The key to Kalinoski's pitching strength is his speed and his variety of pitches. "He has a good an assortment of pitches as any college pitcher we've seen in a long time." Park said. Relying on a lively fastball, Kalinoski confuses the batter with a slider, curve, change-up, and a drop ball that he saves as a strikeout pitch.
High School is Safer
"You might think I was accident prone," Kalinoski said as he reviewed his Harvard career. "Actually, I was never injured in high school, but few people round here believe that," he added.
During the second week of freshman football practice, Kalinoski broke his collarbone when a quarterback fell on top of him. Although he recovered for the baseball season, he found himself in a pitching rotation that included Ray Peters, Bob Dorwart, and George Lalich. At the fourth spot, he won three games.
Kalinoski, returned to the gridiron as a sophomore and succeeded in tearing a knee cartilage in the fourth day of practice. That accident ended his football career, but playing with his knee, taped, he won four games that spring on the J.V. nine. "He was throwing as well as the varsity staff," Ignacio recalled.
Limiting himself to house football last year, Kalinoski only sustained a broken finger and seemed headed toward his first healthy baseball season. "It was the day baseball practice started, and although I didn't have a restless night, I woke up that morning with a retorn cartilage," Kalinoski said. He kept silent about the injury for three weeks.
Did he have any problems? "As long as I switched my weight to my left leg very fast and didn't stretch too far, it didn't bother me too much." Coach Norm Shepard finally caught on and Kalinoski was out--for three weeks. He came back and pitched J.V. while slowly developing water on the knee and phlebitis of the calf.
This season Kalinoski was healthy and the statistics indicate the change. He was the only undefeated pitcher in the EIBL. "The big difference this year was that I could pitch on two legs instead of one," Kalinoski explained.