We originally mentioned this last June, but now J.C. Romero is being sued by the fan who accused him of assault.
Robert Eaton, 26, has filed a lawsuit claiming that Romero caused him “serious and permanent injury” by allegedly hitting him in the neck when he was asking for an autograph. Eaton recalls getting the pitcher’s attention by saying, “How about you get me some juice?” Of course, Romero served a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, so it’s possible he didn’t take too kindly to the joke, but charges were never pursued on the Phillies left-hander because of conflicting reports from witnesses.
Eaton, who said the assault left him with three herniated disks in his neck, is seeking in excess of $15,000 in damages.
On the pitching side of things, Romero is working his way back from offseason surgery on his elbow. He has yet to face live hitters, leaving the chances of him being ready for the start of the season in doubt.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.