WHATEVER HE doesas an adult, Danny Almonte will always be remembered for being a less wholesomeversion of Peter Pan, someone who prolonged his childhood as long as possiblein order to chase Little League glory. In 2001 Almonte, a lanky lefthander,made international headlines when it was revealed that he was actually 14, twoyears older than Little League rules mandate, as he led the Rolando PaulinoAll-Stars, his Bronx team, to the semifinals of the Little League World Series(SI, Sept. 3, 2001). The perfect game he pitched in the Series was expungedfrom the record book, and Almonte faded back into obscurity as a Bronx highschooler. "All that stuff is in the past," Almonte, now 19, told theNew York Post last week. "Now I play with players my own age."
In some waysAlmonte is hurtling into adulthood before his time. Now a solid 180 pounds, hewill graduate from James Monroe High in the Bronx next month, and he continuesto be a man among boys on the baseball field. He led Monroe to a New York Citypublic school championship as a sophomore and is 6-0 with an 0.47 ERA thisseason. (He spent his junior year at a school in Miami but did not play there.)Earlier this month he was chosen for the PlayStation All-American BaseballGame, a national high school all-star contest that will be played inAlbuquerque on June 7, and there's a chance he'll be picked in the major leaguedraft that same week. "He's a solid pitcher, but he's 5'10" andaverages 85- to 86-mph on his fastball," says one pro scout, who seesAlmonte as a potential 25th- to 40th-round pick. "That's way below themajor league average."
Last weekAlmonte, who has a scholarship offer to play for New Mexico Junior College nextyear, reclaimed his place on the front pages of New York's tabloids for reasonshaving nothing to do with baseball: The papers broke the news that he ismarried to a 30-year-old woman, Bronx hairstylist Rosy Perdomo (above). Almonteand Perdomo, whom he has known since he was a Little Leaguer, wed seven monthsago and live together in the South Bronx. "We were having such a goodtime," she told SI last week. "Now our lives have been turned upsidedown."
Perdomo says thatshe and Almonte want to start a family, and that Almonte is already an activestepfather to her 12-year-old-son from a previous relationship. "She'sspecial," Almonte told the New York Daily News. "My family is happy forme."
NEIL DECRESCENZO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (ALMONTE AND PERDOMO)
JOHN ROCA/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (ALMONTE)
GIVING UP SINGLES Almonte is considered a marginal major leaguer.