Barry Jones, 1987 Topps

Name: Barry "14 Across" Jones
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Middle relief
Value of card: (four letters) Spanish for "nothing"
Key 1986 stat: 2,874 crossword puzzles nearly completed
A puzzling pitcher: Barry Jones made his living playing baseball, but it was his hobby turned passion turned addiction that dominated his life. His obsession for the grid alienated friends, family and the game he once held dear. Jones would try to solve the Friday New York Times puzzle between innings, sometimes needing a slap upside the head from chain-smoking manager Jim Leyland to remind him to return to the mound. Jones took to hiding puzzles in his jeans' fifth pocket and tucked them inside his tighty-whities. He was caught many times shirtless, sweating in a clubhouse bathroom stall with a pen clenched between his teeth and a crumbled crossword gripped in his trembling hands. He spent thousands of dollars on crossword books, how-to videos and psychic readings. He savagely beat anyone he suspected of enjoying word searches and would ramble on for hours about the clue that got away. He incessantly scratched at his arms and face and developed a nervous tic, which made him curse Will Shortz while sawing down a pencil to the lead with his incisors. Jones would lurk in the shadows of alleys behind dictionary factories. He would play crossword roulette with four-fingered scoundrels in the back of seedy Chinese restaurants. He would walk across and down, but never diagonal or up. He dressed like a junkie. Crossword puzzles had overtaken Jones' life. Luckily, he met someone who saved him.


1 comment:

  1. I thought he was just stumped by the "Family Circus."