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On This Day In History | 1990

April 17, 2011

The Bears | Grimes (Front, 2nd from right), Leek (Back, 4th from left), Thiessen (Back, 3rd from right) & coach Steidl (Back, far right)

On this day 21 years ago Cameron Thiessen pitched his way into Stony Brook lore with a no-hitter in an 8-2 victory at Eastport.  The Bears got on the board first as Tim Grimes led off with a walk, stole 2nd and scored on a single by Tzu Ying Kuo.  The Brook tacked on another run in the top of the 3rd before breaking a tight game open in the top of the 7th with 6 runs behind a 3-run home run from Phil Leek.

All the while Thiessen was masterful.  He retired the first 6 batters he faced, 5 on swinging strikeouts, before allowing a pair of walks in the 3rd inning that came around to score, only one of which he earned.  From there he worked around trouble in the 4th, inducing a double play after allowing a walk, then striking out a Duck to end the inning after allowing another base on balls.  He cruised through the 5th, then punctuated his memorable day by striking out the last 6 batters he faced.  Thiessen finished with 15 strikeouts and had one more hit than the entire Eastport squad, going 1 for 4 at the plate.

A Big Southpaw from Down Under

It was during a trip through Australia two years ago when Rob Nelson–vice president of JUGGS and inventor of Big League Chew–came upon a young boy with a raw but powerful arm.  Nelson sought out the boy’s parents and asked them if they’d like their son to play baseball in America–since Australia offered no future in the sport.  They told Nelson they would be delighted, and the boy was even more ecstatic, as his favorite player is Doc Gooden and his dream was to play for the Mets.

Within weeks, the boy was on a plane to America, his new home–The Stony Brook School.  And Nelson, the boy’s legal guardian, went back to the million-dollar business of radar guns and gum in Oregon.

The boy is Cameron Thiessen.  And according to his coach, Frank Steidl, he hasn’t forgotten his dream.

“Cameron’s dream is to play pro ball,” Steidl said.  “In fact, he’s so committed to that that the guys on the team make fun of him.  He’s a real straight arrow.”

Steidl is unsure if Thiessen was has what it takes for the big leagues, but the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays scouts that have come to Stony Brook to see him pitch will decide that.

“The scouts see a big lefthanded kid–6-2, 185–who can throw 84 miles an hour and they see potential,” Steidl said.

Last season Thiessen was 7-2 and recorded 107 strikeouts in 67 innings–second best in the county to Center Moriches’ Keith MacDonald.  Both his losses–5-2 and 4-2–came against MacDonald, and he might have won both games had his defense not committed nine errors behind him.  Steidl said that didn’t faze him at all, that Thiessen was the first one to pat the players on the back once the games ended.

In three years Thiessen has been here, Nelson has used every school vacation to introduce his prodigy to the many professional baseball scouts he counts as friends.  In one trip to Florida last month, Thiessen threw three innings against Valencia College–a junior college in Florida.  He had four strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit.  According to Steidl, the Valencia coach offered Thiessen a full ride before he even walked off the field.

Occurrences like that one have only spurred Thiessen on and pushed him forward in his goal.  “He just beams after these things happen to him,” Steidl said, “because he sees the people who count think he’s good and that he has a future… that he has a shot at his dream.”

As much as the odds are stacked against him, the easiest part of Thiessen’s dream might be making the Mets.  The impossible part would be for him to convince Gooden to surrender his number 16, Thiessen’s favorite number.

~ Newsday article from April 22, 1990



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