Next week House of Sparky will begin our "ASU Moment of the Year" tournament, with the 16 best moments from the athletic season. This week we will randomly introduce all 16 moments, then reveal our seedings and match-ups next week, where you, the reader, will vote on what was the ASU athletics Moment of the Year.
Three years after a head first slide into second base against New Mexico in the third game of the season paralyzed Cory Hahn from the chest down, he did something amazing.
He threw a baseball.
In the 40 year history of Packard Stadium, of all the super regionals and national championship teams, perhaps its last night saw one of the most special memories.
At the final game at Packard Stadium against Abilene Christian, Hahn was wheeled out to where the dirt of the batters box meets the infield grass beyond home plate. After a long standing ovation from the crowd, he mustered enough strength to get the ball nine feet across the plate.
LA Times writer Bill Plaschke recounted the day before the first pitch in a column he wrote not long after that incredible night:
He had not thrown a baseball since the accident at second base in the third game of his freshman season. He wasn't even sure throwing a baseball was possible. His left arm had gained some strength, but his fingers still had no ability to grip. How was he going to hold it? How was he going to propel it forward? How far could it really go? The day before the pitch, Cory and his father, Dale, visited an empty bullpen, found a bucket of balls, and started practicing. The father had played catch with the son for years, but never like this. The actions were awkward. The memories were painful. Yet they kept working at it, throw, drop, throw, drop. Cory finally realized he needed to put pine tar on his hand to keep the ball from falling out, leading to the joke he could be the first ceremonial first-ball pitcher to be ejected from a game.
Hahn became a player-coach for the Sun Devils after the injury and graduated from Arizona State in May. The Arizona Diamondbacks have hired Hahn on as a scout while the Arizona State baseball team will move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season.