You gotta hand it to this Cyclone star

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The secret of the Brooklyn Cyclones’ best hitter Darrell Ceciliani is all in the hands.

Call him a throwback, but this barehanded bullet does not use batting gloves — quite in contrast to virtually every other player in every other professional baseball league.

“Yeah, some people call me ‘old-school,’” said Ceciliani after yet another multiple-hit game during a remarkable season where his batting average has hovered around the Ted Williams mark. “But I’ve always felt more comfortable this way, ever since I picked up a bat.”

It’s not as if Ceciliani’s prowess with a bat is a complete surprise. The 20-year-old was the Mets’ fourth-round pick last year, and scouted as a hitting prospect.

But few could have predicted that he’d get through the first third of the season with a .371 average, good for second-best in the New York–Penn League.

To achieve such greatness, the pride of Madras, Ore. willingly surrenders to a few days of intense pain, as his hands become calloused and ready for action — a process he’s endured since Little League.

In today’s major league landscape, it is a rare sight to see a player spurning batting gloves (starting New York Yankee catcher Jorge Posada is one notable exception to this rule, as was Williams). But Cyclones manager Wally Backman is confident that his barehanded ball basher has the goods.

“He’s one of the youngest guys out there, but he’s got baseball instincts,” the former Met legend said.

And a tough set of paws.

Updated 10:33 pm, July 13, 2010
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