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Massimo Fochi

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Massimo Fochi

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 207 lb.

Contents

[edit] Biographical Information

Massimo Fochi was a long-time star infielder and pitcher for his hometown Parma baseball team and played in the Olympics three times.

[edit] 1980s

Fochi debuted in 1984 at age 19. He hit .268 at the plate and was 9-6 on the mound, while playing shortstop regularly. He debuted with the Italian national team that year despite his youth. In the 1984 Amateur World Series, he struggled as Italy's starting shortstop, going 3 for 27 with a walk and 10 strikeouts while making 8 errors in 8 games and fielding .814. On the hill, he allowed 10 hits and 7 runs (4 earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He remained with Italy for the 1984 Olympics. In 1985, he showed good pop but little contact for Parma (.210/.309/.432). On the hill, he was excellent, going 8-0 with 4 saves, a 2.29 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings. Parma won the Serie A1 title that year and Fochi had the lowest ERA on the staff (though Win Remmerswaal, Mauro Melassi and Fulvio Valle all won more games). In the 1985 European Championship, Fochi was 2 for 15 with a walk but played error-free ball at short for the Silver Medalists (the Netherlands won the Gold). He also pitched well, going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 9 2/3 IP.

Fochi was primarily a pitcher in 1986, only getting 39 at-bats (9 hits, a double, 3 homers, 3 walks). He had his busiest year as a hurler, going 11-4 with a 3.82 ERA and 103 whiffs in 99 2/3 innings. With Remmerswaal gone and Valle struggling, he and Paolo Cherubini led the Parma staff. He was 3 wins behind league leader Paolo Ceccaroli. He was 0-1 with a 8.10 ERA in the 1986 Amateur World Series, losing to the South Korean national team. He allowed a .333 average in the event and walked 8 in 13 1/3 innings over 4 games.

His role reversed in 1987 and he was now mostly a middle infielder again. He hit .345/.412/.679 with 13 homers, 44 runs and 41 RBI in 42 games while posting a 0-2, 3.65 record in his limited pitching time. He batted .292/.346/.667 with 3 homers and fielded .952 as Italy's starting second baseman in the 1987 European Championship (won by the Netherlands; Italy got the Silver Medal). He tied Stefano Manzini for the team lead in dingers. In 1988, he produced at a .279/.367/.659 rate with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 40 games. On the mound, he had a 5-3, 2.86 record. He was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in the 1988 Baseball World Cup, getting half the Italian wins. At the plate, he struck out all 3 at-bats and walked once, backing up both Gianguido Poma and Claudio Cecconi at second base. He beat both the Netherlands Antilles and Netherlands squads. In 1989, the Parma reliever was 2-2 with a save and a 0.74 ERA in 12 outings. He hit .209/.343/.360 in an off-year at the plate.

[edit] 1990-1996

Fochi started 1990 strong. As a SS-3B for Parma, he hit .290/.480/.615 with 16 homers, 62 runs, 60 RBI and 70 walks in 64 games. He was second in the league in walks, trailing former AAA player Garrett Nago. He was also four homers shy of Nago for the league lead (Greg Jelks and Roberto Bianchi also had more). Additionally, he went 4-1 with 5 saves and a 3.75 ERA, tying Ceccaroli for the save lead. In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, he split second base duties with Poma but did not perform well (3 for 21, HR, 8 K). He also allowed one run in 1 1/3 IP.

In '91, he hit .324/.387/.641 with 11 HR and 40 RBI in 36 contests. He saw limited time on the mound (2-0, 5.06). He would spend the rest of his career primarily as a second baseman. Parma won its second title during his career. In the 1991 European Championship, he helped Italy win the Gold. He batted .440/.562/.920 with 3 home runs, 8 runs and 12 RBI in 9 games while fielding .931 at 2B. He pitched one shutout inning and got a win. He was one RBI shy of the Azzurri co-leaders Guglielmo Trinci, Bianchi and Elio Gambuti.

During 1992, the 27-year-old was a fine two-way player for Parma (.314/.378/.613, 11 HR, 36 RBI in 36 G; 1-0, 2 Sv, 0.96). He was 3 home runs behind league pacesetter David Sheldon. In the 1992 Olympics, he batted .269/.296/.385 and fielded .974 as Italy's starting second baseman. He faced two batters on the mound, relieving Ceccaroli in the 8th inning against Team USA but walked Calvin Murray and allowed a double to Chris Wimmer that ended the game with a 10-0 mercy rule score.

Fochi hit .333/.453/.476 with 22 walks and 35 runs in 35 games, barely pitching at all (1-0, 3.38 in 3 G). He struggled in the 1993 Intercontinental Cup, going 1 for 14 with a walk and six whiffs, splitting second base with Alberto D'Auria. He was better in the 1993 European Championship, with 4 hits (2 homers) in 14-bats, 3 walks and 2 errors as Italy won the Silver Medal. In 1994, Massimo produced at a .359/.460/.615 rate with 34 RBI and 7 home runs in 39 games, going 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA. In the finals, he went 9 for 19 with a walk and two dingers to help Parma win it all. He did not play for the national team, the first year he had not done so in his career - Davide Rigoli and D'Auria played second for Italy in the 1994 Baseball World Cup.

Massimo had a fine two-way year in 1995. He hit .362/.443/.628 with 13 HR and 53 RBI in 51 games while going 7-1 with two saves and a 2.60 ERA, allowing a .201/.245/.247 batting line. He was Parma's #2 offensive threat after Bianchi and their #2 hurler after Cuban great Faustino Corrales. In the finals, he was 5 for 20 with 3 runs and a RBI and allowed one run in 7 innings as Parma repeated as Italian champions. In the 1995 European Championship, he was used solely as a pitcher, going 1-0 despite a 7.26 ERA; Italy won the Silver Medal again.

The 31-year-old remained productive on both fronts in 1996. He hit .398/.463/.722 with 18 doubles, 13 dingers and 54 RBI in 51 games; on the mound, he won 6, lost one, saved one and had a 2.24 ERA. He and Bianchi led the Parma offense. Had he qualified, he would have won the ERA title by .41. In the finals, he went 7 for 26 with two home runs, two walks, 5 runs and 6 RBI and tossed 2/3 shutout innings but Parma fell to Nettuno. In the 1996 Olympics, he split second base with D'Auria and also pitched. At the plate, he went 3 for 10 with a homer, much better than the hitless D'Auria, while making one error in the field. He was less successful on the mound, serving up 9 runs in 4 innings; only Dante Carbini and Paolo Passerini had worse ERAs for Italy in Atlanta. He started and was rocked against Nicaragua, giving up 7 runs in 3 innings and allowing homers to Erasmo Baca and Anibal Vega; Italy lost 7-2 as Rolando Cretis and Massimiliano Masin provided scoreless relief. He pitched the 6th inning of Italy's 15-3 loss to the US, giving up 2 runs. His homer came in a 8-7 loss to Italy's big rival, the Netherlands. It would be 12 years before a player topped Fochi's 3 Olympic appearances in baseball (others matched him, including Ceccaroli in the same 3 Olympics) - Rob Cordemans and Pedro Luis Lazo each made their 4th Olympics in 2008. It would be Fochi's final time with Italy for a major tournament, ending a 13-year run of representing his homeland. He was not washed up by any means, though, as he would have three more fine years.

[edit] 1997-2003

In 1997, the second baseman hit .393/.490/.704 with 16 home runs, 66 runs, 59 RBI and 39 walks in 54 games. He was 3-3 with 3 saves and a 3.09 ERA as well. In the finals, he won one game and was absolutely dominant offensively (.444/.429/1.037, 5 HR, 8 R, 10 RBI in 6 G) as Parma won its third title in four years. It was his last pennant. Fochi had perhaps his best year in 1998, hitting .351/.421/.718 with 18 home runs, 64 RBI and 51 runs in 48 games; he was 1-0 with 3 saves and a 2.08 ERA. He led Serie A1 in RBI and tied Paul Gonzalez for the home run lead, one ahead of Carlos Quintana and Sheldon. Fochi became the first native Italian to pace the league in homers since Bianchi in 1991. Before Bianchi (who won 3 home run crowns), you have to go back to 1983 and Giuseppe Carelli. Four of the six home run titles in the interim had gone to former major leaguers while Sheldon had claimed one and Luis Martinez the other.

Italy moved to wood bats from alumnium following 1999, dropping offensive numbers around the league. Fochi remained productive - .363/.440/.575, 46 RBI, 18 doubles and 6 home runs in 48 games. Surprisingly, his pitching numbers were worse (1-1, 4.22). He finished third in doubles, 6th in average, tied for 7th in home runs (two behind Cris Colon), tied for second in RBI (with Ed Campaniello and Jairo Ramos Gizzi, behind Sheldon) and was 5th in slugging (between Jay Gainer and Colon).

Fochi hit .252/.357/.371 in 2000 and was 1-0 with two saves and a 0.87 ERA in brief time on the mound. In '01, he batted .257/.346/.398 with 27 walks and 6 homers, while posting a 3-2, 3.42 record. The old-timer still tied for 10th in home runs. The next year, he batted .282/.341/.329 with no home runs in 53 games. He was 4-4 with two saves and a 4.39 ERA in 16 outings, his most in 12 years. In 2003, he had a fine farewell campaign, batting .322/.391/.490 with 22 doubles in 54 games in his 20th season for Parma. He was 0-1, allowing 8 runs in 8 1/3 innings. The 39-year-old led the league in doubles, 3 ahead of Orlando Muñoz.

[edit] 2004-

After his playing career ended, Fochi has held jobs as the General Manager for Parma and a Vice President of the Italian Baseball Federation.

[edit] Career Statistics

Fochi hit .314/.404/.561 in 1,015 games in Italy. He scored 723 runs, drove in 806, had 222 doubles, drilled 194 home runs and drew 490 walks. As a pitcher, he was 75-34 with 25 saves and a 3.36 ERA in 232 games, striking out 693 in 894 1/3 IP. His WHIP was 1.37. He fielded .962 in 681 games at second base, his main position. Through 2011, he was among Italy's all-time leaders in games played (9th, between Riccardo Matteuci and Trinci), runs (17th), hits (1,058, 16th, between Francesco Casolari and Luigi Carrozza), doubles (12th, between Gianmario Costa and Sheldon), RBI (7th, between Matteuci and Alberto D'Auria), walks (13th, between Alessandro Gaiardo and Muñoz) and slugging (11th). As a pitcher, he was tied for 9th in saves with Roberto Mari. His highest ranking came in home runs, where he was third all-time after Bianchi (a catcher) and Carrelli (an outfielder), making him the top infielder in Italian history in dingers. Given Italy's usage of wooden bats, it is unlikely his record will be topped unless the schedule expands significantly.

Fochi played 93 games for the Italian national team. Through 2010, he was 15th between Casolari and Seth La Fera.

[edit] Sources

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