[Baseball History] 33 years ago today...
save me from the clowns : April 3, 2007 09:44 AM

April 3, 1974 - The Indians trade 17-year old Pedro Guerrero to Dodgers for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen.

My dad and my uncle took me to my first big league game in 1985. We had shitty seats in the upper deck so after a few innings we made our way down to front row seats LF. Soon after we sat down, Pedro Guerrero hit a foul ball down the line which my uncle almost got his glove on as it bounced up against the side wall by our seats. Thanks to copious amounts of Pabst Blue Ribbon, he ended up hanging over the railing until my dad pulled him back into his seat. Security did not like what they saw and asked to see our tickets. This resulted in me and my dad returning to our seats in the nosebleed section and my uncle listening to the game in the car.

After the game was over and we returned to the family station wagon, my uncle presented me with a peace offering. He had a game used ball that he claims he caught as he was leaving the stadium. It was a Pedro Guerrero foul ball. In hindsight, his story is very fishy and probably meant to defuse my dad’s anger at him for ruining my first Dodgers game. If it isn’t true, then I have no idea where he got the ball. He sticks by his story to this day.

I still have that baseball and Pedro Guerrero has been my favorite player ever since that game. It’s unfortunate that most of the Dodgers faithful remember Guerrero’s off field problems as much as his on field success. I just want to thank the Cleveland Indians… I hope that you enjoyed the Bruce Ellingsen era.


Ford Fricks Asterisk : April 3, 2007 01:04 PM

If you ever have the chance to read it, there's a great column about Guerrero in "The Best of Hal Lebovitz" called "Little Boy Lost". It was written in 1973 about his first time in spring training as a 16-year-old who couldn't speak any English and was clearly frightened by all of these things that were completely foreign to him.

It really shows how amazing it is that any of these teenagers out of places like the Dominican actually develop into major league players, especially back when there was really no infrastructure in place to help them make a gradual transition.

Guerrero signed with Cleveland for $2,500, because he had been his family's breadwinner since age 11... "he worked as a cement mixer and wheel-barrow-toter for $2 a day. When he grew a little taller -- he is now 5-foot-11 and weighs 164 -- he graduated to the sugar mills, carrying 200-pound sacks for $3.20 a day. His father, once a sugar-mill employee, is now an invalid, partially paralyzed."


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