Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Randy Poffo: Oooh Yeah!

Can you imagine if Randy Poffo made the team out of Spring Training in 1975? I have no idea how close he was, but being at Spring Training with the White Sox is half the battle I suppose. Randy might have made Roger McDowell look as tame as Harold Baines.

You probably know Randy Poffo better by his stage name Randy "Macho Man" Savage. As silly as it may sound, a pro baseball career wasn't so far fetched for Randy. He had promise, but an injury forced him to rethink then eventually reevaluate baseball.

He was the only player to be signed from an open tryout that the Cardinals held in 1971. He played 16 games for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals as a catcher. He was error free in that rookie season. The next season he made the All-Star team, this time as an outfielder. By 1973, he was started to put up decent numbers and started to move up the ranks in the Cardinal minor league system, mostly as a DH. He played in A ball under manager Jimmy Piersall, who Randy credits for his his feisty personality and for teaching him how to fight.

Randy suffered a setback when he developed a severe muscle tear and ligament separation in his throwing arm. Instead of retiring, this right hander taught himself how to throw southpaw. In 1974, he caught on with the Reds organization. His power numbers went up, but his OBP and batting average dipped down. He played mostly DH again and occasionally in the outfield or at first base. He was third in the league in RBI that year. The Reds eventually released him.

The White Sox gave Randy a shot in Spring Training. The Sox chose to go a different way. I can't find any statistics for his 1975 Spring Training stint, so I can only speculate as to why he was released. My guess is that the Sox just weren't that impressed and released him at the end of Spring Training.

Even though he loved it, Randy decided to call it quits. Randy hit .254 in his minor league career and he stole 21 bases and drove in 130 runs in 869 at bats. Of course, you know what's happened with Macho Man's career since the spring of 1975. In addition to being a famous wrestler, he's acted in movies like Spider-Man and television shows like Mad About You and the Weird Al Show. He's also provided the voice for shows like Family Guy, Space Ghost: Coast To Coast and King Of The Hill. Surprisingly, he's also put out a rap album titled, Be A Man.

Eventually, Randy joined his father and brother in wrestling full time, after dabbling in it throughout his baseball career. Judging by his success, I think the former Randy Poffo made the right career decision. He may have had a legitimate shot at making the majors had he stuck with it longer, but he may have missed out on fame and fortune with that route.

Additional posts on Randy Poffo.

Randy with the Cardinals.

Randy with the Reds.

RIP Randy.


--David said...

That is very cool! I had no idea what "Macho Man" did before his wrestling carer, and now I know! Man, he could have ben the Dennis Rodman of baseball....

Johngy said...

I had the chance to interview Randy's brother Lanny (aka Leaping Lanny Poffo). Lanny said that Randy's arm was in really bad shape. Despite learning to throw with his other arm, he just didn't have enough in that arm to be a legit major leaguer. At the time, wrestling was paying more and Randy seemed to have a brighter future there. Personally, I think Randy saw emerging star Mike Squires and decided to step aside!

Anonymous said...

There was even a picture of him when he was in the minor leagues, without his beard. He was very hard to recognize, and looked like the boy in 'Karate Kid'.

Does anyone have that picture?

dentist montclair ca said...

that's something I never heard of. Randy playing baseball. I watched him growing up as a wrestler. Very cool. he will be sadly missed.

Unknown said...

Randy was a good bowler too. He was the captain of my bowling team when I was in Fifth grade. His dad and mom coached the bowling. I went to Downers Grove North High School with him where he played baseball.

Steve Gierman said...

dentist montclair ca - The more I learn about Randy's life , the more it keeps surprising me. He will definitely be missed.

Charlene - It just goes to show that Randy was a competitive successful athlete, even back then. Thanks for sharing that!

The Class Crazzy Mr. Chaple said...

Dude this is awsome. I just wish it was not under these terms 2 learn about this but i gotta say the more I learn about him the more respect i have for the man rest in peace macho(no undertaker pun there)to MACHO and all the others who have put there life and body on the line for the fans THANK YOU and I wish u all well

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