From BR Bullpen
Ryan Daniel Doherty
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 7' 1", Weight 225 lb.
Ryan Doherty was the first 7-foot-tall player in minor league history.
Doherty was a two-sport star in high school. In basketball, he was named his country's Player of the Year and set a school record with 139 blocked shots. In baseball, he was an All-State pick in 2001, going 10-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 72 innings. In 2002, he was 5-4 with a 1.14 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 63 innings, walking 19. He was nam Gatorade's Player of the Year for the state of New Jersey. Baseball America rated him as the #67 prep prospect in baseball.
Doherty went to Notre Dame, where he struck out 44 batters in 28 2/3 innings as a freshman, allowing 11 walks and 21 hits. He was 2-0 with one save and a 2.20 ERA. In 2004, the sophomore was 5-1 with 12 saves and a 2.38 ERA. In 34 innings, he gave up just 19 hits and struck out 46. He tied Huston Street and 6 others for 8th in NCAA Division I in saves, led the Big East Conference and was one shy of the Notre Dame school record. Had he qualified, he would have ranked 2nd in the Big East in ERA. He allowed only a .160 batting average. The American Baseball Coaches Association and National College Baseball Writers both named him as a third-team All-American. The tall right-hander slipped as a junior, going 1-3 with 7 saves and a 3.79 ERA. In 35 2/3 IP, he struck out 44 and allowed 28 hits and 15 walks.
Undrafted, Doherty was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. When he entered a game for the Yakima Bears on June 23, he became the tallest pitcher in minor league history, replacing Jon Rauch (6' 11"). Doherty was 3-3 with a save and a 3.27 ERA. He struck out 38 in 33 innings, walked 9 and allowed 26 hits. Doherty's standing as the only 7-foot tall pitcher in minor league history would not last long as Loek van Mil made his US debut in 2006 after pitching in the Netherlands in 2005; He stood 7' 1", just like Doherty. Van Mil finished the 2009 season in the AA Eastern League, and features a 94-96 mph fastball.
Doherty moved up to the South Bend Silver Hawks in 2006 and was one of their better relief pitchers, posting a 9-1, 2.59 record with 5 saves and a 2.59 ERA. Opponents hit .214 and he struck out 76 in 62 2/3 IP. He did not lose a game until August.
In 2007, though, Doherty's fortunes turned south. After 3 innings of work for the Visalia Oaks, his career with the Diamondbacks came to an end. Several blogs reported that Doherty retired due to health reasons. He was back in action by July, though, signing with the independent River City Rascals and going 1-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 20 outings for them.