The Woonsocket Rocket is unfortunately calling it a career thanks to the mitochondrial disorder which sapped Baldelli of his energy and ability to play the game at the highest level. Baldelli told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times:
"I don’t anticipate ever playing baseball again. I’m retired. The paperwork will be filed. And you know what. The only time I feel like it’s good to retire is when you’re happy to retire. And I’m happy….
I don’t regret anything. You know what’s sad is that I love to play, and I really didn’t get a chance to do it as much as I wanted to.”
Though this seems like one of the saddest stories about a man’s body failing him in his prime, preventing Baldelli from building upon his first two seasons where he hit .285/.326/.425 and looked like one of the best all around young players in the game, Baldelli’s story is also one of the triumph of the human will. It wasn’t until 2008 that his disorder was even properly recognized and treated. Though unlikely, Baldelli found a way to contribute off the bench for three more seasons before finally needing to hang them up.
Though he may never have achieved Joe DiMaggio-type greatness, he can always be proud of his inclusion in the Rhode Island Italian-American Hall of Fame.