Missing finger doesn’t deter Waubonsie’s Fumagalli



The left index finger on pitcher Troy Fumagalli’s hand was amputated shortly after birth. Fumagalli grew up to become one of Waubonsie Valley’s top athletes this year in football and baseball. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media.


I forgot to ask Waubonsie Valley pitcher Troy Fumagalli (pictured right) if he has ever heard of Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher Mordecai Brown. I’m sure he has. After all, Fumagalli has one more finger on his left hand than “Three Finger” Brown had on his right. Brown lost parts of two fingers in a farming accident as a kid.

Fumagalli lost the index finger on his left hand shortly after birth. He was born with poor circulation in his fingers. Fumagalli was told his index finger was black and blue at birth. Doctors amputated the finger and performed surgery on four other fingers to help with circulation. Fumagalli gladly shows off the scars to remind him what he went through as baby.

He said that the condition did not affect his feet, which would come in handy years later as Fumagalli developed into one of the Chicago area’s top tight ends last season. After committing to Wisconsin under coach Bret Bielema, Fumagalli re-opened his recruiting when Bielema left the Badgers for Arkansas. Fumagalli turned down on an offer from North Carolina State to commit again to the Badgers.

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He will join Wisconsin as a greyshirt recruit and will be placed on a three-year scholarship because of an overload of tight ends in the program. He said colleges coaches are aware that he is a nine-fingered tight end. Since Wisconsin is the only Big Ten school without a baseball team, there is a good chance that he has played his last baseball game.

Fumagalli’s baseball career ended May 25 in a Class 4A regional final loss to Downers Grove South. He pitched for the last time May 24 against Hinsdale Central, but did not receive a decision in the extra inning game. He finished the season with a 3-4 record after going 6-1 last season.

Fumagalli batted seventh for the Warriors and if you look closely, he does not cut off the left index finger on his battling gloves, preferring to let that gloved finger flap around freely. Fumagalli said he used to cut that finger off his glove as a freshman.

Fumagalli doesn’t miss something he’s never had. He has never let athletics hold him back despite the lost finger.

“It’s not like I had it,” Fumagalli says.

He pitches left-handed and bats right-handed. He writes left-handed while pressing with his middle finger down on a pencil. He golfs right-handed, but does not use an interlocking grip with his left middle finger. He prefers to swing his golf club with a two-handed grip.

Fumagalli demonstrated his grips on the three pitches he throws.

His two-seam fastball

His circle changeup

His curveball

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