8.27.2010

Neal Heaton, 1991 Donruss

Name: Neal "Heat-On" Heaton
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Pennsylvania redemption value for two empty Budweiser cans
Key 1990 stat: 365 hangovers
Putting the "heat on" in Heaton: Neal Thompson - now Neal Heaton - was a young, quality pitcher with no vices before the 1990 season. That year, manager Jim Leyland introduced him to cigarettes and beer in an attempt to get the left-hander to blow off steam. This didn't turn out well. Thompson started drinking beer after beer after whisky after beer. In fact, what appears to be a mustache in the above card is in fact a round-the-mouth whisky stain. Thompson would show up drunk to games and would sneak Budweisers into the dugout. Teammates began calling him "Neal Heat-On," not because he threw fast but because he liked to "get a heat on." Thompson liked the moniker so much he changed his last name to "Heaton." Within a year, he was out of baseball, spending his days getting his heat on in Pittsburgh parking lots and his nights collecting the beer cans he had discarded.

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