Veteran right fielder PedroCerranoannounced his retirement after 19 seasons with the South Carolina Buzz, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, at a news conference this morning.
Cerrano, a 1989 Rookie of the Year candidate who struggled in several attempts at a comeback, announced his decision in front of members of the press, several former teammates including Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, Willy Mays Hayes, and Jake Taylor, Indians owner Roger Dorn, and three die-hard Indians fans.
The 47-year-old spent two Major League seasons with the Cleveland Indians and retires with 32 lifetime homeruns and a career .219 batting average. With his big league days considerably behind him,Cerranoclaims he no longer has the energy to keep trying to hit curveballs.
"No more baseball for me," saidCerrano, who pounded his chest and performed a lengthy Voodoo ritual that involved a black hood, snake, and a small, terrifying doll named Jobu.
The announcement did not surprise many people asCerranohas not been able to earn a spot on a major league team since he defected from Cuba for religious freedom in 1989 and impressed Indians scouts that same year. It was in Cleveland where he won the American League pennant as the team’s starting right fielder. In his first year alone,Cerranofinished in the top five in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage and earned the nickname the Cuban Crusher from adoring fans.
He was also a member of the Indians’ 1990 World Series team, although it remains unclear if they won that or not.
Cerranomade his mark on the game as much with his odd personality as with his contributions to the teams on which he played. He became the first Voodoo follower in the majors, as well as the first openly Buddhist baseball player — though his religion quickly switched back to Voodooism when his competitiveness wore off.
Despite a career that spanned two decades,Cerranois most known for the time when he attempted to save a pigeon he hit with a fly ball rather than run the bases. This act, though compassionate, cost the Indians their first game of the 1990 season. When asked to comment on this now legendary event,Cerranosaid nothing and sacrificed a chicken.
Cerrano put up impressive power numbers in the minors, but his average always hovered around .200 and with his path blocked by younger prospects, he was kept on the farm to sell tickets.
The Indians had offered Cerrano a one-day contract to retire with Cleveland, but he turned them down yesterday, reportedly telling Indians general manager Mark Shapiro: "You no give me job when I needed one? I say f—k you, Cleveland."
"It was an honor to play along side him, and everyone wishes him the best," said Mays Hayes, who, according those in attendance at the press conference, looked completely different than the last time anyone saw him.