Mahoney one pin away from setting the Louisiana career pins record
November 19th, 2019 | Written by: Editor



Trent Mahoney in 7th grade filming the Ken Cole finals for the editor, until he and his friend got distracted by a ball The 2017 Louisiana Classic champion and Outstanding Wrestler award winner
Perhaps on Wednesday, but at least by the end of the weekend, East Ascension senior Trent Mahoney will record his 148th high school career pin, besting the record of 147 set by Ben Willeford of St. Michael in 2010. 

The record is about Mahoney and is a testament to his efforts and achievements.  It is not about the opponent he pins to reach 148.  Mahoney is a two-time defending Division I state champion and a two-time Louisiana Classic champion.  And on Monday he signed to wrestle on a full scholarship to King University in Bristol, Tennessee.

Having the wingspan of a lanky albatross, the odds are he will use a cradle to record the historic fall. 
After the 2018 132-pounds state championship finals (not visible: D I Outstanding Wrestler award) After the 2019 152-pounds state championship finals

Whomever Mahoney's 148th victim is, he is only a victim re dumb luck and bad timing.  He should not feel he did anything wrong because he did not.  He can still excel at wrestling if he has time, or anything else he chooses to do just because he is a wrestler.

Below is a parallel tale of another athlete who allowed a significant record to be broken yet still had a great career. 

Retired Major League Baseball player Al Downing celebrated his 78th birthday last June.  In a 17-year career, starting in 1961 and ending in 1977, he played for the New York Yankees, Oakland A's, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers.  He put up some very respectful career numbers, including a win-loss record of 123-107 and an ERA of 3.22.  He struck out 1,639 batters while giving up only 933 walks.  He even hit two home runs. 

In 1964 he led the National League in strikeouts with 217.  In 1970 he went 2-10 on a Brewers team that was 65-97.  Traded to the Dodgers in 1971 he posted a career best 20-9 win-loss record and made the MLB All-Star team, striking out two and allowing no runs in the All-Star game.  He was selected as the National League "Comeback Player of the Year" and finished third in the National League Cy Young Award voting, behind MLB Hall of Fame members Ferguson Jenkins of the Cubs and Tom Seaver of the Mets.  On August 11th, 1967, Downing joined a list now numbering 93, of players who have had an "immaculate inning," meaning they struck out three batters on nine strikes.  Downing struck out Tony Horton, Don Demeter and Duke Sims while pitching for the Yankees against the Cleveland Indians.  Downing earned the win via a 5-3 score.

From 1980 to 2006 Downing was a radio sportscaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers, CBS Radio and, oddly enough, the Atlanta Braves.

Despite his very successful baseball career, Downing is usually only remembered for a pitch he made in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium on April 8th, 1974.  That was the pitch Hank Aaron sent into the stands for his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth's record of 714 which had stood since 1935.

On April 8th, 1974, Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Al Downing threw a 1-0 sinker to Atlanta's Henry Aaron, who blasted it into baseball history for his 715th career home run.  At a banquet years later, Downing told Aaron the pitch "was a sinker that didn't sink."

Downing did not serve up that home run because he was a bad pitcher.  He had a career most other MLB players would envy.  In Aaron's career, which ended with 755 home runs, 309 other pitchers were also victims of Aaron's swing.  In his career Aaron took Downing "deep" three times.  That means he hit 752 off of other pitchers, and it took a total of 310 pitchers to give up home runs to Aaron until he retired with a total of 755.  In the "grand scheme" of Aaron's career, three home runs off of one pitcher is nothing for which the pitcher should be ashamed.  "Hammering Hank" hit eight home runs off of St. Louis Cardinal Bob Gibson, who is fourth on the lifetime lowest ERA list (1.68) and still owns the lowest single-season ERA record in the "modern era" of 1.12 in 1968.  He hit eight off of Steve Carlton, four off of Tom Seaver, two off of "No Hitter" king Nolan Ryan and one off of Don Larsen, the only player to pitch a perfect world series game (1957).  Off of other Dodgers Aaron hit 14 off of Claude Osteen, and off of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, both Hall of Fame members, he hit 7 and 17 respectively.  He hit in the double digits off of four other pitchers. 

 Downing, along with everyone else who knew anything about baseball, knew Aaron's 715th homerun was coming at some time, and it just so happened around his pitching rotation for the Dodgers.  Aaron knew that as well and has praised Downing's career.  Unlike Mahoney's record, however, Aaron eclipsing Ruth involved unwarranted social issues.  Downing has always understood the lore into which he was thrust was just as important as his very respectable career.

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