Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thrice Bitten

Sadly, Pedro Borbon died a couple of weeks ago at the not-so-old age of sixty-five. He was a pretty good relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds—the Big Red Machine—during the 1970s. What I remember most about him, though, occurred during the National League playoffs in 1973 against my beloved Mets. That’s when Pedro took a hearty bite or two out of a Mets' baseball cap.

It occurred during a famous bench-clearing brawl initiated by a Bud Harrelson-Pete Rose dust-up at second base. After order was restored, Borbon, who had his own cap knocked off in a brouhaha with Mets' pitcher “Buzz” Capra, reached down to the ground and placed what he thought was his own cap on his head, except that it wasn’t. It belonged to outfielder Cleon Jones of the Mets. When Borbon realized his faux pas, he either bit a fair-sized hole in it or shred it to pieces, depending on which accounts you want to believe, and tossed it to the ground in utter disgust. Capra claims he still has the cap as a memento of that wild and wooly occurrence in an amazing comeback season.

Via a Google search, I couldn’t help but take a stroll down memory lane into the life and times of Pedro Bordon. And, you know what, I never knew he was a serial biter. I thought the Mets' cap was the long and short of his Dracula-esque antics. A year later, it seems, during another bench-clearing brawl, Borbon took a considerable bite out of the side of a Pittsburgh Pirates player named Daryl Patterson, who was actually given a post-game tetanus shot. Fast forward a few years and Borbon, in a Cincinnati disco, took another considerable bite out of someone's hide—well, actually, out of a bouncer's chest. When the exasperated Reds' management traded him away in 1979, urban legend has it that Borbon put a voodoo hex on the organization. He later denied the allegation. Evidently, the big shots either forgave him or believed him, because he was elected to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2010. All’s well that ends well. RIP Pedro Borbon, a true original.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.