Bernie Carbo cemented his legend, such as it is, in the 1975 World Series. The Red Sox were on the brink of losing Game 6 and the series to the Reds when Carbo hit a three-run
pinch hit home run to tie the score and to set up Carlton Fisk’s famous extra-innings shot. Thank God Carbo was prepared for his big moment:
“I probably smoked two joints, drank about three or four beers, got to
the ballpark, took some [amphetamines], took a pain pill, drank a cup of
coffee, chewed some tobacco, had a cigarette, and got up to the plate
and hit . . . I played every game high. I was addicted to anything you
could possibly be addicted to. I played the out field sometimes where it
looked like the stars were falling from the sky.”
Never a full-time player, Carbo was a career .264/.387/.427 hitter, playing his whole career in an environment that favored pitching. One wonders how good he could have been if he hadn’t thrown it all away like he did.
Not that he didn’t have some help. He had a horrible childhood, was abused by a relative and had a father who was never there. Carbo says that as soon as he came up with the Reds, team trainers supplied him with amphetamines — calling them vitamins — and said that he more or less had to take them. He was soon hooked, and from there moved on to pain pills, sleeping pills cocaine and just about everything else you can imagine. We’re all ultimately the authors of our own destiny, but we have a lot of editors and uncredited contributors. Carbo had more than most.
Carbo has his life in order now — he’s been sober for 15 years — but his is a harrowing story of lost youth and lost promise. Great job by the Globe’s Stan Grossfeld. Definitely a must-read today.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.
Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.
CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Dubroff reports that the Orioles are “searching everywhere” for outfield help. The club recently acquired L.J. Hoes from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations, throwing him into a stable of six outfielders that could potentially crack the Opening Day Roster.
Adam Jones, of course, will open the season in center field. But in the corner outfield and on the bench, Dubroff lists Hoes along with Dariel Alvarez, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia. Both Lough and Reimold are eligible for arbitration — Lough for the first time, and Reimold for his third and final year — so it remains to be seen if the Orioles will retain both of them.
The Orioles could target outfield help in the Rule-5 draft, and they could also target outfielders in free agency. Gerardo Parra, acquired by the O’s in a trade with the Brewers at the trade deadline, remains a possibility but the team is reluctant to offer him more than two years.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that the Indians have signed catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Recker, 32, has spent the past three seasons with the Mets, compiling an aggregate .190/.256/.350 batting line with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 432 plate appearances. He’ll serve as catching depth for the Indians.
Recker was selected by the Athletics in the 18th round of the 2005 draft. They then sent him to the Cubs in exchange for Blake Lalli in an August 2012 trade, and the Mets selected him off waivers from the Cubs in October 2012.
When last we posted about Yasiel Puig it was to pass along a rumor that the best player on his team wants him off of it. If that was true — and if this report is true — then expect that sentiment to remain unchanged:
Obviously this report is vague and there has not been, say, a police report or other details to fill it in. Perhaps we’ll learn more, perhaps Puig was misbehaving perhaps he wasn’t.
As we wait for details, however, it’s probably worth reminding ourselves that Puig is coming off of a lost season in which he couldn’t stay healthy, so trading him for any sort of decent return at the moment isn’t super likely. Which leads us to some often overlooked but undeniable baseball wisdom: you can be a distraction if you’re effective and you can be ineffective if you’re a good guy. You really can’t be an ineffective distraction, however, and expect to hang around very long.