Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rodney McCray: The Wall Crasher

The White Sox did have a player that crashed through a wall. No, not Aaron Rowand, but that's a good guess. It was Rodney McCray. He didn't crash through the wall in the majors. It was a park in Portland and contrary to popular belief, he did not catch the ball.

I certainly remember seeing that video on every news station in Chicago in 1991. When he came out unhurt, I thought he'd be a dynamo in the majors. I thought it was even better than Bo Jackson doing his best imitation of Spider-Man, the year before.

So, when he was called back up to the Sox in 1991, I paid special attention. Well, I might as well have been watching paint dry. Rodney only was used as a pinch runner or a backup outfielder, but usually as a pinch runner.

When he made his major league debut in 1990, he only had 6 at-bats with a .000 average. In 1991, he had a grand total of 7 at-bats, but with a much healthier .286 average. That's 2 for 7, for all you non-mathematicians. Both hits were singles.

He did decently on the base paths. In 1990, he stole 6 bases and scored 8 runs. In 1991, he came down to Earth a bit. He only stole one base and was caught stealing once. He only scored 2 runs. The White Sox had no room on the roster for Rodney, so he was granted free agency at the end of 1991.

The Mets decided to take a chance on him and signed him for the 1992 season. Rodney only had one at-bat for the Mets, but he made it count. He delivered a game-winning single that scored his first (and last) major league RBI. The Mets let him go exactly one month later. He retired and occasionally coached in the minors.

Recently, on August 12, 2006, Rodney was honored in Portland with the "Rodney McCray Bobblefence Night", celebrating his memorable crash through the wall. He threw out the first pitch, and right-center field of PGE Park was renamed "McCray Alley" in his honor.

Here's the video of the crash.


Unknown said...

In recent years the entire outfield fence at what is now called PGE Park was completely replaced and covered in green padding. The section where Rodney McCray performed his all-time blooper now says "McCray Alley". At Wikipedia someone wrote that the entire right-center field is now called McCray Alley, but I am a season ticket holder and have never heard it called that. I do have the bobble.

Steve Gierman said...

Cool! Thanks for the first hand info!

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