DOC: No other All-Star like Chris Sabo

DOC: No other All-Star like Chris Sabo

Postautor: Angel92 » 12 lip 2017, o 05:54

Baseball’s last original played in the All Star Game 29 years ago at Riverfront Stadium. It was a different time for Chris Sabo, but only chronologically. Sabo is who he was, and always will be. He exists in perpetual memory, driving a dirty brown Ford Escort straight over entitlement, stomping the sucker flat.
He occurs to me now, two days before the game that celebrates fully players who are fully celebrated already. Who might or might not feel as truly fortunate as Sabo did, three decades ago, as a Reds rookie sincerely living the dream. It’s not to say baseball was better back then. I’m just saying it will never produce another All-Star like Chris Sabo.
“Sixty-two-five,’’ he’d said. “That’s good money.’’ In ’88, Sabo was a rookie making the major-league minimum wage, which was $62,500. The Escort had more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. It got washed when it rained. I used to tell him the dirt was all that held it together.
He sported a haircut 30 years after its time, a top so flat you could land a crop duster on it. That rookie season, he’d stormed out of a barbershop on the road, furious his ‘do wasn’t receiving the care it deserved. Maybe it was another barber’s turn with the hedge clippers.
I’d asked him the day before the All-Star game if he thought he was underpaid. The question amused Sabo then. Still does.
“It’s still good money,’’ Sabo said last week. “I don’t think I’d made over $10,000 a year in the minor leagues. You make all that money, you got to stay at big-league hotels. I enjoyed every minute of the big leagues.’’
He works at the IMG Sports Academy now, coaching baseball. He’s moonlighting this summer, managing the Green Bay Bullfrogs, a team in the Northwoods League, a collection of college kids playing summer ball. The things Chris Sabo could teach them.
“The modern players, most of ‘em don’t wanna bust their butt around the bases,’’ the manager said. “That’s OK, I get it. That’s just how it is. I’m not out there yelling at them about it. I just tell ‘em, ‘Don’t assume everything’s going to be caught.’ And you never know who’s going to be in the stands.’’
Tracy Jones remembered that Sabo embarrassed him. Jones, the former Red, was playing centerfield for the Montreal Expos Weston Richburg Jersey when Sabo lined a routine single up the middle. Jones fielded it routinely and cleanly. He big-league-d it. And when he looked up, Sabo was heading safely to second base. “My most embarrassing moment in the big leagues,’’ Jones said this week.
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