9.12.2009

Candy Maldonado, 1991 Upper Deck

Name: Candy Maldonado
Team: Cleveland Indians
Position: Outfield
Value of card: 200
Key 1990 stat: One injury caused
Ready for some football: For good baseball teams, early September means playoff chases, jockeying for home-field advantage and giving your stars a little extra rest. But for bad teams, such as the hapless Cleveland Indians, September means looking forward to the start of football season. After a dispirited batting practice session, Candy Maldonado, Sandy Alomar and a handful of Tribe teammates would fire up a game of tag football or 500. Of course, footballs were hard to come by at Cleveland Stadium, so the hardballers were forced to improvise, using batting helmets instead of pigskins. Manager John McNamara was never thrilled with the pick-up games, but in an effort to maintain morale, he let them slide. In 1990, tragedy was waiting. Maldonado, who often served as all-time quarterback, was tossing a game of 500 and decided to throw a potential game-winner. "Five-hundred!" he shouted, and launched the helmet as far as he could, over the heads of his group of receivers. Speedster Alex Cole, who had yet to catch a pass that day, took off, trying to track down the missile in the outfield, where McNamara was taking the bullpen car for a joyride. Cole never saw him coming. A pair of compound fractures later, helmetball was banned.
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