Rodney Craig (TRADING CARD DB)

Rodney Craig

This article was written by Eric Vickrey

Rodney Craig (TRADING CARD DB)Rodney Craig signed as an undrafted free agent in 1977 and was the Seattle Mariners’ first homegrown player. He showed potential stardom as a switch-hitting outfielder with excellent speed and a self-proclaimed “legendary” arm. Craig clearly possessed superb natural athletic ability, which allowed him to overcome his limited experience in organized baseball, undrafted status, and wayward tendencies. But he battled injuries, at times frustrated his managers, and did not reach his full potential. Craig played parts of four seasons between 1979 and 1986 with the Mariners, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox. His unique personality and sense of humor were manifested in some audacious antics during his minor-league days.

Though Craig spent a portion of his life in the limelight of professional baseball, his story remains little known in the public domain and even to those who knew him. Mental health problems contributed to his downward spiral after baseball, and perhaps there were other factors at play. His enigmatic post-baseball story is one of multiple arrests, homelessness, and a tragic death.

Rodney Paul Craig (sometimes known as “Rod”) was born on January 12, 1958 in Los Angeles, California. Craig grew up in Carson, in the L.A. metropolitan area. His upbringing was once described as one with “dire poverty and a shaky home life.”1 (Research has not yet revealed information about his parents and siblings.)

He played on a Compton Little League team for two years beginning at age nine and then in the Compton Central Senior League from ages 13 to 15.2 On an early career questionnaire, Rodney wrote that hitting a grand slam in the Senior League All-Star game and hitting a ball 370 feet at age 14 were the highlights of his amateur baseball days.3 He attended Manuel Dominguez High School in Compton and was on the school’s 1973 baseball team that included Hubie Brooks, Ken Landreaux, and Rick Peters.4 He then transferred to Narbonne High School in the Harbor City area of Los Angeles. A childhood friend later recalled that Rodney enjoyed anything to do with sports, but baseball was his first love.5 He was a running back on the Narbonne Gauchos’ football team and in some eyes was the most talented player at the position. However, African American athletes were in the minority at the school, possibly a factor in Craig being buried on the depth chart, and he ultimately quit the team.6 He did not play baseball in his junior and senior years, perhaps for the same reason.7

After high school, Craig ended up in Texas. He enrolled at San Jacinto College but did not play baseball for the school after a scholarship failed to materialize.8 Seattle Mariners scout Ed Stevens heard from a bird dog that there was a promising youngster playing with a semipro team in Houston. That player turned out to be Craig. “He was a standout, a natural,” Stevens later recalled. “He looked so good, I took him home with me, for fear or losing him. Then I called Steve Schryver, our assistant farm director, and we made the deal.”9 Craig signed as an undrafted free agent without a bonus, though the sympathetic scout gave the 19-year-old signee $1,500 so he could buy some clothes.10

The Mariners, a first-year expansion franchise in 1977, had only one exclusive minor-league affiliate, the short-season Single-A Bellingham Mariners of the Northwest League.11 So, Bellingham was where Craig was assigned, joining Seattle’s first-round draft pick Dave Henderson in the outfield. A natural right-handed hitter, Craig learned to switch-hit, recommended by the Mariners as a way of utilizing his blazing speed.12 In 54 games, he hit .284 with a .366 OBP, four home runs, 22 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases.

Craig spent the 1978 season with the Stockton Mariners of the Single-A California League. In 90 games, the speedy outfielder hit .272 with a .345 OBP, one home run, 21 RBIs, and 41 steals. He then went to the Arizona Fall Instructional League. During the 38-game season, he hit .318, led the league with 24 RBIs, and swiped 17 bags.13 He followed that up by playing winter ball in the Mexican Pacific League for the Guaymas Ostioneros. The Mariners sent several players to Guaymas under a working agreement established by farm director Mel Didier.14

In 1979, Craig had an impressive spring training and made the jump to Triple-A with the Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League. The 21-year-old outfielder got off to a hot start, hitting .315 with a .378 OBP, two home runs, 13 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases in 46 games. Though he was having an excellent season statistically, Craig made headlines after a pair of incidents in which he abruptly left the team. The first came on June 2, when the Indians were playing in Phoenix. Craig tried to steal home with his team leading 8-0, and teammates pointed out the breach in baseball etiquette.15 Later in the game, Craig brought out Reggie Walton’s glove in between innings and dropped it in front of him. Back in the dugout, Walton told Craig not to bring the glove out if he was going to do that, and an argument ensued. Another teammate, Danny Walton, interjected and told Craig to shut up. Craig packed his things and left the ballpark. Craig told a Seattle Daily Times reporter that Danny Walton had threatened him and claimed older players on the team were jealous of his abilities and putting too much pressure on him.16 “I can stand pressure,” said Craig, “but not from my teammates. I’ve asked René to get them off my back, but nothing happened.”17 The situation was different from manager René Lachemann’s viewpoint. “He says Danny Walton threatened him, but Danny is one of the veterans who has tried helping him at the plate,” said Lachemann.18 Craig was fined $750 and was allowed to return to the team after issuing an apology.19

Five days later, Spokane was in Tucson for a doubleheader, and Craig complained of shoulder soreness. He told Lachemann that he couldn’t play for 48 hours on advice of a doctor and produced a note from a middle-of-the-night hospital visit where he had gone for an analgesic injection.20 When Lachemann suggested that he could pinch-run, Craig claimed that his agent and lawyer advised that he go home. Lachemann would not excuse him, but Craig left the ballpark anyway.21 These were not the first incidents in which Craig’s behavior ruffled feathers. “Rod did the same thing when I had him in Stockton,” said Lachemann. “I managed him in Mexico, too. I told him that anyone who packs his bags on me should keep going. It’s a shame. He has outstanding tools. But it will be difficult for him to play on this team now. I don’t want him. It’s up to the organization to decide about him. But I don’t want him.”22 Following this second incident, Craig was demoted to the Single-A San José Missions of the California League.

With San José, Craig maintained the same .315 average over the course of 64 games. He homered three times, drove in 27, and stole 35 bases in 44 attempts (the club as a whole ran a lot). He had more walks (39) than strikeouts (25) and had an OBP of .409. His manager, Bob Didier (son of Mel), recalled that he’d have liked to use Craig in center field but that Dave Henderson was there, so Craig went to left field. Spots were scarce because Seattle still didn’t have a Double-A team in its farm system. After more than 40 years, the skipper’s lasting memory of Craig was how solidly built he was. “I thought he’d develop power with time,” said Didier, who added, “I never had any problems with him.”23

Craig’s play earned a September call-up with the Mariners; thus he became the first homegrown player in franchise history. “After I was sent down from Spokane, I wondered what my future would be with the Mariner organization,” said Craig after his promotion to Seattle. “And I learned something from that experience. Now I’m all baseball. Nothing like that will ever happen again.”24

Craig made his major-league debut on September 11, 1979, hitting seventh and playing right field against right-handed starter Doyle Alexander and the Texas Rangers. After Alexander retired the rookie the first two times through the order, Craig, hitting left-handed, singled in the seventh inning for his first big-league hit. He singled again in the ninth inning, this time hitting righty off the Rangers’ southpaw reliever Sparky Lyle. “After that first single, everything I’d been through, the problems and all the hard work went through my mind…without any doubt, this is the biggest thrill of my life,” said Craig after the game.25 The 6-foot-1, 195-pound rookie hit in 12 of 13 starts during the month of September, including seven multi-hit games. Though he did not hit a home run, he showed extra-base pop with eight doubles and a triple. He finished his first big-league trial batting 20-for-52 (.385).

Craig went to spring training in 1980 not assured of a roster spot, but he impressed manager Darrell Johnson and earned the Mariners’ Opening Day center field job, in part because of an injury to Juan Beniquez. Hitting second in the order, Craig was 6-for-10 with three runs scored, a home run, and five RBIs in the first two games of the season. After hitting safely in his first seven games, the rookie saw more breaking balls and struggled. He was hitting .230 in early June when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore shoulder, still bothersome from the year before. Craig was optioned to Triple-A Spokane when he came off the DL in late June. Lachemann was still Spokane’s manager, but Craig seemed ready to put their previous clashes behind him. “I felt a lot of pressure last year because I was a lot younger than the other players. It was a misunderstanding. Lach is a good man and has his rules,” said Craig at the time.26 In 36 games with Spokane, he produced a slash line of .298/.352/.435 and was 14 for 18 in stolen base attempts. When big-league rosters expanded in September, Craig was called back up to Seattle. He was 4-for-4 with a walk in his first game back. In 26 games, he produced at a .248/.288/.324 clip with one home run and eight RBIs. For the season, he hit .238 for the Mariners and stole just three bases in nine attempts.

Craig played winter ball in Venezuela with Navegantes de Magallanes and suffered a left shoulder injury from crashing into a fence. That limited him to just 10 games. He was the first player to report to spring training in 1981, arriving 10 days early at his own expense.27 While trying to make a catch early in camp, he dislocated the same left shoulder. “I’ll be back out there tomorrow. They’ll have to drag me off (the club) this year,” said the determined youngster.28

Craig did make it back quickly, but Henderson’s excellent spring and first-round draft pick status made Craig expendable. A reported conflict between Craig and Seattle’s manager, Maury Wills, may have also factored in the Mariners’ decision to trade their young outfielder.29 On March 26, he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians for first baseman Wayne Cage. The Mariners pre-arranged a deal to sell Cage to a Japanese team. “Craig was the player we wanted for Cage. We talked for three months before it was settled,” Cleveland general manager Phil Seghi later recalled.30

The Indians assigned Craig to the Triple-A Charleston (West Virginia) Charlies of the International League. After playing 23 games and hitting .256 (20-for-78) with two home runs and five RBIs, he re-aggravated his shoulder injury. He underwent surgery and missed the remainder of the season.31 He spent the summer rehabbing near his home in Torrance, California. He also attended Dodgers and Angels games “to keep his head in the game” and learn from watching other players.32 That winter, he played in an instructional league and incorporated a weightlifting program for the first time.33

Craig’s time away from the game seemed to give him perspective. “I didn’t realize how hard it is to play in the major leagues. I wasn’t mentally ready. I took it all for granted,” he said in the spring of 1982.34 He impressed his new club early on. “When Craig hits the ball, it jumps off his bat,” said manager Dave Garcia.35 Craig was hitting .298 with a home run and seven RBIs when he was named to the Indians’ Opening Day roster as a backup outfielder.36 The 24-year-old spent the entire season with Cleveland but started only nine games; he was mostly used as a pinch-runner and pinch-hitter. Years later, Terry Pluto, who covered the Indians for the Plain Dealer, recalled that teammates called Craig “Bucket Head” in reference to the size of his batting helmet.37 Pluto also recalled that Craig had a quiet demeanor and played cards on team flights, frequently losing his meal money to more experienced sharks.38 Craig failed to show the pop he had demonstrated in Seattle and was 15-for-65 with a slash line of .231/.275/.262. Following the season, he was optioned to Triple-A Charleston.

Craig spent the 1983 season with Charleston and played in 121 games. He produced a .266/.384/.395 slash line with 11 home runs, 56 RBIs, and 27 steals. It was later reported by the Associated Press that Craig had an altercation with manager Doc Edwards. “Craig was not known for performing with great intensity. When he tested Edwards’ patience by loafing, the manager became furious and threw him against a wall.”39 His teammates, in a show of solidarity with Edwards, removed the contents of Craig’s locker and placed them in a pile in the middle of the clubhouse.40 A memorable, though somewhat unflattering, baseball card was produced during his tenure with Charleston. Craig is depicted wearing the Charlies’ red and navy-blue pillbox cap with his eyes almost completely closed.

Jack Perconte, a teammate of Craig’s in Cleveland and Charleston, echoed Pluto’s memory that Craig was “quiet and kept to himself away from the field.” Perconte added, “Good teammate. “[Rodney] had an understated sense of humor. Always seemed like a sadness was within him.”41

The switch-hitter spent 1984 with Cleveland’s new Triple-A affiliate, the Maine Guides of the International League. Compared to playing in West Virginia, he liked his new environs. “I saw the same movie 10-12 times there,” Craig said, referring to Charleston. “I can look out my window now and see the beach. Being from LA, it’s like being home.”42 His numbers were on par with the previous season. In 122 games, he slashed .267/.367/.406 with 14 home runs, 63 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. Maine finished with a record of 77-59 and lost to Pawtucket in the International League championship.

Following the season, it was reported that Cleveland had re-signed Craig despite his stated intention to become a free agent.43 However, when the Indians signed several players in January 1985, Craig was released, seemingly the victim of a roster crunch.44

Craig signed with the New York Mets and was optioned to Tecolotes de Dos Laredos of the Mexican League for the 1985 season. He played through injuries, determined to make it back to the major leagues. Referring to himself in the third person, the outfielder said, “This may be the year Rodney Craig busts out of the minor leagues.”45 Through July 6, he was hitting .367 with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs.46 Late in the season, Craig played nine games for the Tidewater Tides, the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate. He was 6-for-23 (.261).

Craig signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1986 and was assigned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons of the American Association to begin the season. He made his return to the major leagues on April 17, replacing an injured Greg Walker on the roster. Craig appeared in 10 games, all as a pinch-hitter and late-inning defensive replacement. In 12 plate appearances, he was 2-for-10 with two walks. In what would be his last major league at-bat, he singled off New York Yankees hurler Joe Niekro. He was sent back to Buffalo on May 6. Kevin Lester, the Bisons’ official scorer and occasional bullpen catcher, recalled that Rodney had a “strong body” and was a “good clubhouse guy who loved the game.”47 With Buffalo, Craig played 112 games and slashed .271/.365./.463 with 11 home runs, 60 RBIs, and 29 steals. Eight of his RBIs came in a doubleheader after receiving hitting advice from White Sox minor-league hitting instructor and former Mariners teammate Willie Horton.48 Another highlight included homering from both sides of the plate in a game on August 23.

Moreso than his statistical accomplishments, Rodney left an indelible mark in Bisons history with his personality and renowned high jinks. Pete Weber, the club’s radio announcer that year, rehashed these memorable anecdotes in 2021. He recalled that Craig had two nicknames. The first, “Bowling Bag Head,” like his moniker with Cleveland, was in reference to the size of the cap needed to fit his cranium. The second was based on the self-described reputation of his throwing arm. “[Rodney] came over from the International League,” recalled Weber. “He was telling the guys in the dugout one day prior to a game that his throwing arm was ‘legendary in the International League.’ So, the guys started calling him ‘Legend’ or ‘Lege.’”49 Even the Bisons’ public address announcer took to introducing him as Rodney “The Legend” Craig when he came to bat.50

Then there was the memorable game at Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium. Craig, as usual, had been regaling guys with stories about his arm. Weber recalled the eccentric outfielder’s antics in detail 35 years later. Craig was playing right field and Daryl Boston was in center. A fly ball was hit to medium-depth right field. Craig went back on it to get his full momentum behind a throw to the plate and fired a strike. The problem was the Omaha Royals did not have a runner on third base. “Rodney could lose track of things, and he evidently thought that Frank Funk, the Royals’ third base coach, was a baserunner,” recalled Weber. From the press box, a roar of laughter could be heard coming from the Bisons’ dugout. Craig was obviously embarrassed. The next fly ball was hit to right-center between the two outfielders. Boston called for the ball and brushed by Craig, who went down to the ground as if he had been shot. “I’m looking through my spyglass, and I can see Daryl is laughing standing over him, but Rodney doesn’t move,” said Weber. After several minutes, an ambulance came out from left field and drove around the warning track to get to Craig. After the right fielder was put on a stretcher and was taken toward the Bisons’ dugout, the crowd began to applaud politely. Rodney suddenly sat up and began waving to the fans. Daryl Boston would later recall Craig’s faux injury, saying that story alone made him a legend.51

Budd Bailey, a reporter who covered the 1986 Bisons, remembered a game in which Craig was ejected. Back in the clubhouse, he talked the person in the Buster T. Bison mascot costume into handing over the outfit.52 Craig played the part of Buster T. Bison for the rest of the game. As Weber remembered, Craig went as far as to sit next to Jim Marshall, Buffalo’s manager, in the dugout. Marshall had no idea that Craig was inside the suit.53

By this point, Craig may have realized that he was on the downside of his career and didn’t take things as seriously, assessed Lester in a 2021 interview. “Sometimes I’d see him sitting at his locker just staring into space,” recalled Lester. In his decades around the game, it’s a look he’s seen in other players who realize they are nearing the end of the line.54

Craig returned to the Mexican League in 1987 and played for Dos Laredos and Bravos de León. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles in August and reported to the Rochester Red Wings, their Triple-A affiliate in the International League. In 13 games, he hit .179 (7-for-39). On September 8, it was reported that the Red Wings had released Craig.55

Craig was out of professional baseball in 1988 and 1989. He resurfaced in July 1990 when he signed with the Salinas Spurs, an independent Single-A team in the California League. A report in a Salinas paper, the Californian, indicated Craig had been waived by the Detroit Tigers, though there is no record of him playing in the organization.56 In six games with the Spurs, he was hitless in 14 at-bats but did draw five walks and steal two bases. This marked the end of his professional career. In parts of four major-league seasons, Craig played in 145 games, had 400 plate appearances, and produced a slash line of .256/.305/.360 with an OPS of .665. He hit three home runs with 27 RBIs and was 7 for 15 in stolen base attempts. He played 696 minor league games in which he slashed .276/.366/.399, hit 49 home runs, and stole 207 bases.

Rodney Craig’s post-baseball life was filled with multiple arrests, signs of underlying psychiatric problems – and ultimately, tragedy. In 1999, he was charged with stalking a television news anchor. He had become infatuated with the woman when she worked for a Los Angeles station. After she relocated to Florida, Craig, who referred to her as his wife and called her hundreds of times, took a bus to Florida where he was arrested.57 When Craig’s mother died in 2001, he did not attend the funeral and, according to a childhood friend, refused to believe that she had died.58 According to the Los Angeles Times, by 2001 Craig had been arrested in Arizona once and Florida three times. In Florida, he pled no contest to a trespassing charge and spent three weeks in jail. In 2004, he was arrested in El Paso, Texas for striking another man with a rock. According to the public defender in Texas, Craig was “bouncing on and off his medication, revolving from states of strange brilliance to polite strangeness.”59 A self-defense claim was made, a court found he was mentally incompetent, and Craig was sent to a state psychiatric hospital. Charges were dropped after a witness did not appear in court. After spending a couple of years in El Paso, he was arrested again in Miami-Dade County, Florida in 2008 on suspicion of entering a park after hours.60

On August 17, 2013, Craig, experiencing homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles, was setting up camp on a downtown sidewalk near the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and South Hope Street.61 A group of men approached him and told him to move down the street. As he gathered his things, the men told him to move faster. As Craig began to walk away, he attempted to kick a dog belonging to someone in the group. The dog’s owner kicked and punched Craig several times, and then Craig was stabbed in the chest with a knife. The 55-year-old died at the scene.62 Anthony Johnson, the man who had kicked and punched Craig, was sentenced to six years in state prison.63 On March 23, 2015, Billy Morales, who was charged with stabbing Craig, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.64

Over the years, the Mariners franchise has produced talent such as Alvin Davis, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Felix Hernandez. Yet Rodney Craig will always hold a niche in club history. And for those who know him more for his antics in the minor leagues, he is indeed remembered as a legend.

 

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to Jack Perconte, Pete Weber, Kevin Lester, and Bob Didier for sharing memories and stories and to Malcolm Allen for providing Craig’s publicity questionnaires.

This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Bruce Harris and checked for accuracy by SABR’s fact-checking team.

 

Sources

In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author relied on Baseball-Reference.com and pelotobinaria.com.ve (Venezuelan winter ball stats).

 

Notes

1 Hy Zimmerman, “Many Faces to the Rodney Craig Affair,” Seattle Daily Times, June 10, 1979: 58.

2 Rodney Craig, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss, August 15, 1977.

3 Craig Publicity Questionnaire, 1977.

4 Rodney Craig, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss, May 9, 1978.

5 Paresh Dave, “Two Men Charged in Stabbing Death of Homeless Former Ballplayer,” Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2013, https://homicide.latimes.com/post/two-men-charged-stabbing-death-rodney-craig/, accessed March 2, 2021.

6 Dave.

7 Hy Zimmerman, “From Playfield to M’s? Probably,” Seattle Daily Times, March 8, 1979: 41.

8 Dan McGrath, “Mariners Grow One of Their Own,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 1980: 46.

9 Zimmerman, “From Playfield to M’s? Probably.”

10 Zimmerman, “From Playfield to M’s? Probably.”

11 The club also had a partial working agreement with San José of the Pacific Coast League in 1977 and had three years to fill out a full farm system. See Dick Rockne, “Mariners Going Full Throttle on Ticket Sales,” The Sporting News, January 15, 1977: 53.

12 Chuck Stewart, “His Feet Rapid,” Spokane Chronicle, April 20, 1979: 14.

13 Hy Zimmerman, “The Ill-Wind from Re-entry Draft Blows Some Good for Mariners,” Seattle Daily Times, November 14, 1978: 57.

14 Jesús Alberto Rubio, “Derek Bryant: Facetas exitosas,” El Chiltepín (Hermosilla, Sonora, Mexico), September 16, 2009, http://www.elchiltepin.mx/columna.php?idcol=9&idnota=781, accessed March 21, 2021.

15 McGrath.

16 Hy Zimmerman, “M’s President Fines Rebellious Rookie,” Seattle Daily Times, June 7, 1979: 115.

17 Zimmerman, “M’s President Fines Rebellious Rookie.”

18 Zimmerman, “M’s President Fines Rebellious Rookie.”

19 “Tribe Player had Muddied Future,” Spokane Chronicle, June 8, 1979: 19.

20 Zimmerman, “M’s President Fines Rebellious Rookie.”

21 “Tribe Player had Muddied Future.”

22 Zimmerman, “M’s President Fines Rebellious Rookie.”

23 Bob Didier, telephone call with Rory Costello, March 31, 2021.

24 Hy Zimmerman, “Craig Plans to Stay Under the Dome,” Seattle Daily Times, September 11, 1979: 55.

25 Hy Zimmerman, “Craig Makes Two-Hit Leap from Class A to Majors,” Seattle Daily Times, September 12, 1979: 22.

26 Earl Gerheim, “Sore Shoulders, Bad Thumb Latest Woes for Craig,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), July 4, 1980: 5.

27 Hy Zimmerman, “M’s Seek Right-Hander from Dodgers; Craig Hurts Shoulder,” Seattle Daily Times, March 1, 1981: 33.

28 Zimmerman, “M’s Seek Right-Hander from Dodgers; Craig Hurts Shoulder.”

29 Terry Pluto, “Seghi, Getting Craig, Pulls Small-Swap Steal Again,” Plain Dealer, March 29, 1981: 42.

30 Terry Pluto, “Craig’s Hitting Spree Leads Tribe by Brewers,” Plain Dealer, March 20, 1982: 62.

31 Jack Magruder, “Indians Top Brewers in Opener,” Arizona Daily Star, March 9, 1982: 10.

32 Paul Schwalbach, “Craig’s Back, Eyes Starting Spot,” Tucson Citizen, March 24, 1982: 64.

33 Pluto, “Craig’s Hitting Spree Leads Tribe by Brewers.”

34 Magruder.

35 Pluto, “Craig’s Hitting Spree Leads Tribe by Brewers.”

36 Sheldon Ocker, “Blyleven’s Elbow Fine in Three-Inning Trial,” Akron Beacon Journal, April 3, 1982: 19.

37 Terry Pluto, “Terry Pluto Remembers Former Cleveland Indians Outfielder Rodney Craig, Who Was Homeless when Killed in Los Angeles,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), October 26, 2013, https://www.cleveland.com/pluto/2013/10/terry_pluto_remembers_former_c.html, accessed March 3, 2021.

38 Pluto, “Terry Pluto Remembers Former Cleveland Indians Outfielder Rodney Craig, Who Was Homeless when Killed in Los Angeles.”

39 “Phillies Give Elia Contract for 1988,” Charlotte Observer, September 15, 1987: 17.

40 “Phillies Give Elia Contract for 1988.”

41 Direct communication between Jack Perconte and the author via Email, March 9, 2021.

42 Larry Mahoney, “Guides Impressed with Maine, People,” Bangor Daily News, April 17, 1984: 8.

43 Paul Hoynes, “No Deal, Verbal or Written, Exists Between Tribe, Thornton,” News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio), October 23, 1984: 10.

44 Paul Hoynes, “Tribe Stocks Farm Club; Drafts 14,” Plain Dealer, January 10, 1985: 61.

45 Manuel Flores, “Glitter a Long Way from Mexico,” Corpus Christi Times, July 3, 1985: 38.

46 Minor League Baseball statistics, Los Angeles Times, July 11, 1985: 192.

47 Direct communication between Kevin Lester and the author via phone interview, March 9, 2021.

48 George Rorrer, “Fregosi Faces Heat, Gets Beat,” Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), June 21, 1986: 13.

49 Direct communication between Pete Weber and the author via Zoom video call, March 8, 2021.

50 Budd Bailey, “The Legend,” Notes from an Inquisitive Mind Blog, October 1, 2013, http://buddbailey.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-legend.html, accessed March 5, 2021.

51 Weber interview.

52 Bailey.

53 Weber interview.

54 Lester interview.

55 Patti Singer, “Despite Continual Changes, Red Wings Enjoyed Success,” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), September 8, 1987: 30.

56 John Devine, “New-Look Spurs Show Old Results,” Californian (Salinas, California), July 16, 1990: 19.

57 Joan Fleischman, “Snip, snip and the Rose will Bloom,” Miami Herald, April 20, 1999: 19.

58 Dave.

59 Dave.

60 Dave.

61 Nicole Santa Cruz, “Rodney Paul Craig, 56,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2013, https://homicide.latimes.com/post/rodney-paul-craig/, accessed March 3, 2021.

62 Santa Cruz, “Rodney Paul Craig, 56.”

63 Jeanette Marantos, “Homeless Man Sentenced in Downtown Killing of Former Baseball Player,” Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2015, https://homicide.latimes.com/post/homeless-man-sentenced-16-years-life-prison-killing-former-baseball-player/, accessed March 3, 2021.

64 Marantos.

Full Name

Rodney Paul Craig

Born

January 12, 1958 at Los Angeles, CA (USA)

Died

August 17, 2013 at Los Angeles, CA (USA)

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