The Bishop Hendricken athletics department recently sent another number to the rafters, retiring the jersey of 2012 graduate Thomas Pannone, who is currently a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pannone, a Cranston native, was named the 2012 RI baseball MVP, and was then drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft. He chose to attend the College of Southern Nevada instead, and transitioned from an outfielder to a full-time pitcher.
After posting a 6-2 record and a sub-2 ERA in college, Pannone was then drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft. After emerging as one of the top prospects in the Indians’ organization, the Blue Jays traded for him in the summer of 2017.
Pannone was called up for his big-league debut last summer and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles, and would finish the year with a 4-1 record.
“It’s a huge honor to be back in this building with all of my family and friends with me right now. It’s really humbling, to be in that gym and to see my jersey retired here, it’s something that I’ll have forever, it’s something that I’ll never forget,” said Pannone after the celebration. “The last year was crazy. From spring training, then the (regular season), then I get the call up, it was really overwhelming and it was a lot of fun. To get up there in the big leagues and fulfill my dreams, being there with those guys, it’s been awesome.”
The Hendricken program has cemented its spot as one of the top clubs in New England, and has produced a number of Division I players, some taking the next step to the professional level. Pannone was the third baseball player to have their number retired by Hendricken, following in the footsteps of current Minnesota Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli and current big leaguer Jeff Beliveau.
“To have my jersey next to those guys, you can’t ask for much more. You come in here as a freshman and you see those guys’ jerseys retired and you think that that is something that you can really accomplish. One thing leads to another and I find myself here,” said Pannone.
Pannone also thanked the Hendricken community, and feels that his time as a Hawk prepared him for college and the Major Leagues.
“It helped me out tremendously. I was able to play with the best talent in the state coming to Bishop Hendricken and it made me better as a player,” said Pannone. “I got to play around great talent, my senior class had six, seven guys that went Division I. We all worked off of each other, they made me better, I think I made those guys better too. It was a communal effort and it paid off.”