Every career, whether of Hall of Fame or cup of coffee variety, must come to an end. Some players have long careers and go out on their own terms. Some players get in one game as a pinch runner in September, get sent back to the minors and never make it back to the Show. Some get cut down in the prime of their careers when their wheels blow out.
Let's take a look at one such player.
Bigfoot was a five tool prospect during his brief time in the minors. He had it all. Speed, arm strength, crushing for average AND power and most of all, fielding. He cruised through the minors and got called to the big leagues in early June.
No one turned a better double play than Bigfoot. Had he been built earlier, the poem might have read Tinker to Bigfoot to Chance. Smoother than Dave Lopes, sweeter than Robby Alomar, Bigfoot was the best. Joe Morgan and Lou Whitaker, both fine 2nd basemen in their own right, have said Bigfoot is the standard that all double play combos will be measured by for years to come. Ozzie Smith lamented the fact that he never got to play with Bigfoot. It was the one thing missing from his career bucket list.
Let's take a look at some of Bigfoot's fine work.
Here we see Bigfoot effortlessly avoided the take-out slide to turn an easy double play.
John Cangelosi...take your teammate back to the dugout because you're both toast.
Close calls happen all the time at 2nd base, but Bigfoot made every play look routine. Every game he played added to the errorless streak he was on to start his career. 687 games and counting.
Bigfoot was so good he wrote the handbook that ballplayers of all ages used to learn the proper way to turn two.
One of my favorite representations of Bigfoot plying his craft was on this Turkey Red card. Absolutely beautiful.
Game 688 of Bigfoot's career would be his last. Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, himself a fine double play turner, came barreling into 2nd. It looked to be a routine play, but the 5'5", 170 lb Altuve took out Bigfoot's right front tire.
Trainers rushed to Bigfoot's aid as his teammates looked on in horror. Players later described the incident.
Hanley Ramirez: "I was shocked to look down and see that he wasn't wearing pants and even more shocked when I realized he was a monster truck. I'd turned a number of double plays with him and didn't even realize he didn't have hands!" The trainer knew immediately that something was seriously wrong with Bigfoot.
Bigfoot, seen here WITH hands (Hanley Ramirez did not return our calls about this development) was helped off the field for the last time. His right front wheel would never be the same. In the dugout, trainers put on Bigfoot's doughnut spare tire and he drove off into retirement.
Rumor has it that Bigfoot has been spotted playing stickball with kids on muddy sandlots in the Dominican Republic. Maybe, just maybe, Bigfoot will make a comeback someday.
If not, at least I can say I saw him turn two.