Nine years after 1999 first-round pick Kurt Ainsworth last threw a pitch for the Giants, he had a hand in their 2012 World Series championship, kinda sorta.
Ainsworth is co-founder and chairman of a bat-manufacturing company called Marucci, unique because 26 ballplayers are investors and together own a majority of the firm. One is Ryan Vogelsong.
When Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series against the Tigers, he used Marucci bats - yes, plural. During his third at-bat, against reliever Al Alburquerque, the maple bat flew out of Sandoval's hands to the backstop, where it cracked.
"It was real nerve-racking," Ainsworth said during a visit to Scottsdale Stadium on Tuesday. "We were all watching together and saw it broke, and we were all going, 'Just come up with another Marucci! Just come up with another Marucci!' He picked up another one of our bats, and he hit another homer."
It was deja vu for Ainsworth and his partners. Albert Pujols is an investor, and he hit three homers using one of the bats in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series at Texas.
"It's a good feeling," Ainsworth said. "It's almost like watching one of your kids succeeding when you see a player do well with one of your bats."
The company is named for Joe Marucci, the head athletic trainer at LSU, who founded it with Ainsworth and Joe Lawrence, a former Toronto Blue Jay and 1996 first-round pick.
Ainsworth hails from Baton Rouge, La., and attended LSU. He pitched in 29 games for the Giants and Orioles from 2001 through '04 before arm trouble ended his career.


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