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March 6, 2013

BP Unfiltered

The World's Fastest Typist and A Half-Century of Baseball

by Sam Miller

There are a few highlights in this video about the world's fastest typist (on a manual typewriter), 

such as: 

  • When he plays his typewriter like a piano
  • When he says he has been fired from 25 or 30 jobs because he types too fast
  • When the teenage girl says "if he can do it I can do it," obviously missing the point
  • When the video starts and all the parts after until the video ends.

You might notice that Ron Mingo is described as a former pro baseball player. And, wouldn't you know it, he really is. Mingo—listed as 6' 2", 210 lb.—was a pitcher in the Angels organization for one year, in 1966; he walked 11 batters per nine innings. Then his record goes dark for three years (he might have been with the Astros and/or the Giants) before he shows up in 1970, playing corner infield positions for the cooperatively staffed Danville Warriors. He hit .203/.250/.266, with a .744 fielding percentage at third base. And that was, according to Baseball-Reference, that. 

But that was not, technically, that. He later went on to coach M.C. Hammer on a high school baseball team:

And all along, Mingo was playing semi-pro ball. This undated piece—it appears to be from the early 2000s—calls him "a cult hero in West Coast semi-pro ball."

Ron Mingo has been playing the visitor role at the Arcata Ball Park every year since leaving the Giants after the '71 season (and they have the nerve to call Ripkin "The Iron Man"?). But when his player-manager contract wasn't extended earlier this year, the Humboldt Crabs seized the opportunity to surprise San Jose-based Fontanetti's baseball club by picking up a "temporary option" on the hollering first baseman.
 
Few would accuse Ron Mingo of being subdued - until they have the pleasure of meeting Ron's wife, Wanda. Passionately proud of her 17 year marriage to "The Old Buzzard," she's quick to tell people that "Ron loves baseball so much that he eats it, sleeps it, walks it and talks it."

That article helpfully lists 32 different chatters that he yelled from his first-base position in a single half-inning, including 10 variations on HumBaby.

From a newsletter for the San Francisco Angels wood-bat team, we learn that he was still playing in 2006 and he still had a big mouth. He also still sort of pitched and played on the corners. He was charitably called a "veteran" in the league: 

Veteran first baseman Ron Mingo's chatter on defense and on offense won the Angels a close game on Saturday, 5-4 over Art Washington's Josh Gibson Bombers. According to coach Washington, Mingo's loud mouth (see Nov. 6 story) confused a young Bomber hitting in the top of the 9th with the bases loaded,  no outs and the game tied 4-4. The young hitter forgot Washington's instructions to lay down a squeeze bunt on the second strike. His mind in scrambles by the noise, the young player swung at the first pitch and popped out. In that inning, Jett Russell, relief man for starter Edgard Garcia, got two more popouts to keep the Bombers from taking the lead.
 
In the bottom of the 9th, the Angels put runners on second and third base. But Bomber starter Darwin Tellez was working out of trouble to lock up the 4-4 tie with a time limit coming up. He had two outs and two strikes on the Angel hitter. Darwin had already dominated this batter, striking him out twice previously in the game. So one more strike would end the game.
 
Ron Mingo was the runner wandering off 2nd base and chattering loudly. So Bomber catcher Franklin Escobar tried to pick Mingo off, in an obvious effort to give that loudmouth his come-uppance, but while Mingo was caught in a rundown, the runner from third scored the winning run.
Later in the newsletter: 
The Angels were rained out on Wednesday November 9, finished in a tie 3-3 the Wednesday before, but on Sunday November 6 their relief pitcher, submarine specialist Ron Mingo, removed himself in time to salvage an 11-8 win.
 
The Angels built an 11-0 lead behind starter Ryan McClelland going into the bottom of the 7th, when the larger-than-life Mingo, once on record as the world's fastest typist, took the mound and allowed 8 runs before striding, with his proud noble bearing, back to his usual 1st base position, where he shouted, "Mingo, you suck!" with customary bombast shockingly self-directed.
 
Switching positions with Mingo with only one out, McClelland returned to the mound to strike out the next five batters, giving him a win and a save in the same game. The week before, the intrepid-but-diminished-capacity Travel Director had pitched three innings, but Mingo is even older and still better.
The newsletter also includes a picture purportedly of Mingo in his bodybuilding (!) days: 
 

And, in case you're wondering, the girlCarla Brookswho was named "Most Talented" along with M.C. Hammer in high school (see extremely brief appearance in video above) doesn't have an easily tracked online presence. There was a Carla Brooks in one episode of Baywatch in 1989, but, of course, it might not be her. It's not nearly as easy to find out about somebody named Carla Brooks as somebody named Ron Mingo.

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Baseball,  Ron Mingo,  Typing

8 comments have been left for this article.

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