Collins: Wilmer Flores’ tears draw empathy from Jose Cardenal

From Cory Collins at The Sporting News on July 30, 2015:

Wilmer Flores wiped away his tears on Wednesday night, convinced he’d been dealt from the organization that had signed him out of Venezuela on his 16th birthday. A cruel reminder of how news can break — and break a man down — in the Twitter age. A visual reminder that human beings inhabit those uniforms.

José Cardenal understood the 23-year-old’s tears.

“When I saw that kid crying last night,” Cardenal told Sporting News on Thursday, “a lot of things came to my mind from when I was his age.”

Cardenal is the answer to many a trivia question, including: “Name the player that once missed a game because chirping crickets kept him awake.” But he also endured one of the most heartless transactions in baseball history. On August 2, 1979 — 36 years ago this Sunday — Cardenal suited up for the Phillies in the first game of a double-header against the Mets at Shea Stadium. Between games, he ventured into the clubhouse looking for a sandwich.

Instead, he got news from Phillies manager Danny Ozark. He got a new uniform. A Mets uniform.

“It was very spooky that day,” Cardenal said. “I was confused. I didn’t believe it.”

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Originally published: July 30, 2015. Last Updated: July 30, 2015.