Safeco Field Seattle Washington

Baseball fans are familiar with the expression “Around the horn.” For non-fan readers, that’s an expression used to describe when infielders throw the ball from one to another to another after a batter strikes out or an out is made at first base. It is an expression also used by some people to describe a double play, of either the “6-4-3” (shortstop to second baseman to first baseman) variety or the “5-4-3” (third baseman to second baseman to first baseman) variety. Baseball players around the world have been tossing the ball "around the horn" for many, many years. A recent visit to Safeco Field in Seattle to watch a Seattle Mariners game against the Detroit Tigers highlighted the universal nature of what Americans like to call their national game.

Team from Dhahran that Competed in the Little League World Series

Pitching that day for the home team was Hisashi Iwakuma, a native of Tokyo, Japan. A significant contingent of players for both teams playing that day came from Latin American countries, including Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela. Several other players hailed from Texas, which sometimes considers itself a separate country and reportedly has included in the terms of its agreement to join the United States the option of seceding from the Union if it so chooses, taking its oil wells, cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats with it. Baseball in Iwakuma’s home country has a long and storied history, dating from before the Second World War. In 1935, a delegation of American dignitaries on their way by ship to the newly-independent Philippines to attend the inaugural of Manuel Quezon as the island nation's first president stopped in Japan for a few days. As one of them wrote in a letter sent to a newspaper in Alaska, "Baseball is the national game, and everywhere there was the deepest interest in it, crowds standing around listening to the radio accounts of a series between two of the great universities of the country.”

Alex Wilson Statistics and Minor League Baseball Card

In Seattle earlier this week, in the second game of the three-game series, a 28-year-old pitcher named Alex Wilson took the mound for the Tigers against the Mariners. Wilson was born neither in Texas, nor in a country in Latin America, nor in the United States, nor anywhere nearby. He was born instead on November 3, 1986 in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia! It’s unclear but certainly possible that one of both of his parents were Aramcons. If any reader can confirm this one way or another, please let us know. We would love to hear the back story behind Alex’s baseball career. Did he learn to play baseball in the Kingdom? If so, who were his coaches? Who were his teammates? Was he a member of one of the outstanding Little League teams fielded by expats living there? Does anyone have a picture of him from his growing-up days in Dhahran? Can anyone tell us something about his parents, his siblings, his friends? Confirmed information we receive will be reported in an article in a future newsletter. In the meantime, our congratulations go out to Alex for making it to the top of his chosen profession.

Craig Stansberry Baseball Card

One other Major League baseball player born in Saudi Arabia—Craig Stansberry—made it to the Big Leagues. Stansberry was born in Dammam in 1982 while his father was working there for an outside contractor. Stansberry played with the San Diego Padres of the National League for several years, starting in August 2007. He has since retired from the game. It would be nice to know for certain that an Aramcon Brat has made it to what baseball players like to call “The Big Show.” Other Aramcon Brats have gone on to achieve notable success in other sports and in a wide range of professions. If any reader has a story to share similar to that of Alex Wilson, don’t hesitate to let us know. Way to go, Alex!