Dr. Evil, Austin Powers
“You want me to do what?”
Pedro Borbon was a rubber-armed workhorse in the bullpen for the Big Red Machine, pitching in over 60 games for eight straight years. Overall, he tallied 69 wins, 80 saves, and over 1,000 innings – pretty much all from the pen. Borbon shone in particular in the post-season, pitching 26 total innings, with a 2.42 ERA and 0.962 WHIP.
He was also quite a character. Stories about him include a voodoo curse, a Mike-Tyson-like brawl (where he bit his opponent in the side), and his taking a bite out of a hat. (Fittingly, his nickname was “Dracula.”)
Pedro was a licensed barber and participated in cockfighting as a hobby. He also had a son, Pedro Jr., who pitched in the majors, as well as a grandfather who lived to the age of 136 (according to Pedro, at least).
“Take the goddamn photo, would ya?”
Doug “The Red Rooster” Rader was a great fielder (five straight Gold Gloves), a pretty decent hitter, and also a decent manager. He’s better known, though, for being – again – quite the character. Peter Gammons describes him as:
“The zany, flaky Houston Astro third baseman who sat on a birthday cake in the clubhouse; Doug Rader, the madman in Jim Bouton's book Ball Four who advised kids to eat baseball cards to ingest all the information printed on them“
Gammons also relates the following additional shenanigans:
“There was the time, for example, when he went to the movies, bought an ice cream bar, ate the paper and tossed the ice cream away. Sometimes after games, he and Astro roommate Roger Metzger would lie on their backs in the clubhouse shower and slither across the floor in what were called ‘the upside-down seal races.’ One evening when Astro teammate Norm Miller and his wife were coming to his house, Rader decided he wasn't in the mood to entertain, so he greeted them stark naked. His guests quickly departed. Said Rader afterward, ‘That works every time.’"
Rader also thought he was a pirate or a Tahitian warlord in a former life. Is he channeling one of them for this photo?
“I said take the goddamn photo already!”
As far as I know, Carlton “Pudge” Fisk was not a major character. He was, though, an incredible ballplayer. In fact, you can make an argument he’s the best catcher ever. He’s number one in years played; two in games, at bats, hits, and runs; and third in hits and homers. On the awards side, he was Rookie of the Year (unanimous choice), an 11-time All Star, a three-time Silver Slugger winner, a one-time Gold Glover, and a second-ballot Hall of Famer.
Oh, what’s that you say? He was also a Red Sock? No, no, I’m sure that has nothing to do with my seeing him as number one all-time at all.
I’d be pissed off too if I had to wear that stupid uniform.
Jim Essian, though a catcher, was definitely no Carlton Fisk. Over 12 years, he managed only 1,855 at bats, finishing with a .244 average. He also had a short (and equally nondescript) career as a manager, going 59-63 with the Cubs in 1990.
A couple of interesting things relating to that brief managerial gig though:
- Jim was the first manager of Armenian extraction
- He is now the manager of the Greek national baseball team
- He inspired this odd blog
You want me to do what?
You may have heard of this dude too. I believe he’s got a plaque at Cooperstown as well.
Okay, so no reason to go over this guy’s many accomplishments. Here’s some good trivia about him though:
- His parents were sharecroppers
- He didn’t play baseball until 11th grade
- He was a walk-on in college
- He was a florist after retirement
- He’s also an ordained minister