He was commenting recently on the death of major leaguer Mike Cuellar. He interviewed Cuellar for a newspaper article many years ago and recalled some odd facts about Cuellar that I thought were interesting and highlight the oddball nature of many major league players.
When Hitzges asked the Orioles organization for an interview they told him Cuellar didn't speak very well. Hitzges said that was ok, he just wanted to ask a few questions. He asked his questions and got some interesting info from Cuellar's teammates as well.
After the Orioles got the third out of an inning, Cuellar would go to the dugout and put his glove in the same spot every time. That's not all that strange. He would then light a cigarette and smoke until the first batter made an out. It didn't matter if it was one pitch or 30, he would smoke that one cigarette. Hitzges said at times, Cuellar would be down to the filter trying to make it last until the first out.
Cuellar told Hitzges he didn't like to fly. He explained that he always wore a blue suit when he flew. When Hitzges asked why, Cuellar explained that he wore a blue suit the first time he ever flew and they didn't crash. He took that to be a sign of good luck and always went with the blue suit for flights.
The best story was passed on from one of Cuellar's teammates. After warm up pitches the O's would throw the ball around the horn as usual. Cuellar would ONLY take the ball from Brooks Robinson. If any other player threw him the ball, he wouldn't catch it. The catcher (the name escapes me) would recognize what happened and retrieve the ball, throw it to Robinson, who would then throw it to Cuellar to start the inning.
I'm sure Norm had more stories to share, but he segment ended and he went on to another topic. What is is about baseball players and weirdness?
I know some of you know some of the weird rituals of your favorite players. Sounds like a good topic for a blog post doesn't it?