Since Sundin was experiencing some numbness in his right hand, he didn't pitch in a game, spending the final month in the bullpen "eating peanuts and looking at the girls in the bleachers."
He went to spring camp the next March, but continued to have arm pain. On March 9, he had surgery to remove ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow. Today, it would have been an arthroscopic procedure that would have sidelined him a few weeks.
In 1956, the arm was put in a cast and he had to rehab almost all year while making all the trips with the big league club.
"I was a glorified ballboy," he said.
He waited all season for that one shot in September. And when it died after 11 pitches, he trudged into the clubhouse deflated. Orioles third baseman George Kell, an eventual Hall of Famer, put his arm around the kid.
"I was so disgusted being taken out, and George Kell consoled me," Sundin said. "I didn't know it was anything special at that age, that stage. I was going along, singing songs. I thought I was going to play ball forever."
More arm pain
The most important occurrence in Sundin's life came a month later, when he married his high school sweetheart, Mary Ann Dorsey, an alternate on the U.S. Olympic figure skating team that participated in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Italy.
On their wedding night, they left Minneapolis for Mexico, where Sundin had to play winter ball. His arm felt good there, but the pain returned in 1957.
And again in 1958, when he had bone chips and spurs removed after a brief spell leading the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in ERA. He juggled effectiveness and injury for a few more seasons before attempting a final, unsuccessful comeback in 1961. At age 24, he was done, returning to Minneapolis to become a salesman for Campbell's Soup.
"He tried so hard, but the pain was so intense and he figured he had to give it up," Mary Ann Sundin said. "You work through things, you get through what you can and you go in a different direction."
Sundin held various sales jobs in Minnesota while raising a family before he and his wife moved to Florida more than 20 years ago.
Now semi-retired and almost 69, Sundin plays a lot of golf. The days of throwing fastballs are decades behind him.
A trace of longing for what might have been remains, since he never fulfilled his vast potential. But his athletic talents took him further than most. And, every now and then, he'll be asked to participate in an old-timers' event.
"I give the old ballplayers I played with a lot of credit. They accepted me as one of them, and I have pride in that, although I didn't do a lot," Sundin said.
"The only record I have is that I didn't get anyone out."
Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.