Saturday, December 8, 2007

Through The Fields Of Gold Chains

I will always envision Ivan Calderon as someone who played for the love of his jewelry. He was known for his power and speed at times, but he was famous for his love of gold chains. Whenever he dove for a ball or slid into a base, those chains would pop out from beneath his uniform and bling the opposition. It was a brilliant tactic that sometimes worked.

Ivan was one of the better trades that Hawk Harrelson pulled off. Despite the last post, there were a few. Not every trade can turn out bad. I mean, what would be the odds? Ivan was the player to be named later to complete an earlier trade with the Seattle Mariners.

It wasn't until Ivan came to Chicago that he found his form. He started to relax and the hits came. He turned himself into an above average player with a flair for the dramatic. For me, it was always frustrating to see players having good years on the Sox in the late 80's because no one had good games at the same time. If one player was "on", the other nine were "off". Yes, I'm counting the DH as a tenth player.

In 1990, all the good games converged together and the White Sox put together a surprising run for the Western Division. They fell short by nine games, but managed to win 94 games. If baseball was in three divisions, like it is now, they would have won the Central Division by 15 games. Kind of blows your mind, doesn't it?

Ivan's trade value was at the highest it would ever be in his career at the end of the 1990 season. So, Ivan and Barry Jones were sent packing to the Montreal Expos for Tim Raines, Jeff Carter and Mario Brito, two days before Christmas.

1991 was a great year for Ivan and he even made the NL All-Star team. After 1991, he started to slip in his batting average. He was traded to the Red Sox for the 1993 season. He hit .221 for Boston and was released in August. The White Sox were in a pennant race in 1993 and thought Ivan was the perfect pick up. He never had the same spark from his previous stint in Chicago. He only had 3 hits for a .115 average. At the end of the 1993 season, Ivan The Terrible was out of baseball.

Unfortunately, 10 years later, on December 27, 2003, Ivan was in a bar in Loiza, Puerto Rico, when two people entered and without saying a word, shot the former Sox player multiple times in the head. Police suspect mafia involvement, but no one knows why Ivan was murdered.

Former teammates expressed shock when confronted with the tragic news. Ron Kittle remembered his love of gold chains and necklaces and Donn Pall remembered an amazing catch in a meaningless exhibition game that most players wouldn't give their all in. Even though he started in Seattle and was an All-Star in Montreal, he will always be pictured in a White Sox uniform.

1 comment:

--David said...

Great job on your write-ups! I enjoy learning about the lives of different players. Keep up the good work! :-)

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