11.28.2010

Ron Darling, 1993 Upper Deck

Name: Ron Darling
Team: Oakland A's
Positions: Pitcher, all fours
Value of card: Humiliation
Key 1992 stat: One concussion
In the doghouse: Poor Ron Darling. He got on Tony LaRussa's bad side during an April start after giving up 10 runs and walking five batters in an inning. But, instead of just pulling his struggling starter, LaRussa decided to further humiliate him, moving Darling to first base and letting Mark McGwire pitch in the blowout. Darling, who hadn't played a defensive position since high school, had no idea what to do at the bag. Upset and flustered, the only thing Darling could think of was Bill Buckner's error in the 1986 World Series. Determined not to let that misfortune happen to him, Darling got down on all fours and prayed for a strikeout. Instead, McGwire's first pitch was laced for a one-hopper down the first-base line, striking Darling squarely in the forehead. In the dugout, LaRussa could be heard cackling.

The moral of this story: Tony LaRussa was one heartless son of a gun.
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