Following up on the trivia question in yesterday’s e-mail newsletter and the current shenanigans in late-night tv, here’s a look back at 2003 BlueClaws manager Buddy Biancalana and his national television stardom.
From a 1986 article in Sports Illustrated…
When Biancalana isn’t making fun of himself, someone else usually is—like Letterman. In the wee hours of Aug. 22, as Buddy slept soundly in Chicago, Letterman introduced the Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter, a fancy—and inaccurate—device that kept track of how many hits Biancalana needed to catch Pete Rose. The counter said Buddy had 11 hits when in fact he had 45.
Biancalana handled it like a pro. “I may be 4,000 hits behind, but I’m a lot closer to Pete Rose than Dave is to Johnny Carson,” he shot back. By September, the last man in the Royals batting order started hearing chants of “Buddy! Buddy! Buddy!” Says Buddy, “It’s amazing what a .188 average will do for you.”
This was another funny Biancalana quote:
Biancalana realizes that his fame may have had something to do with his raise from $72,000 in 1985 to $165,000 this year. He never considered filing for arbitration. “To win, you’ve gotta prove that a lesser player is making more money,” said Buddy. “I couldn’t do that.”
But all that, he is a World Champion, a member of the 1985 Kansas City Royals. Bianacalana took over for starting shorstop Onix Concepcion on September 20th of that season, and started the rest of the year and every playoff game. During the playoffs, he drew his first intentional walk, had the game winning RBI in game five, and played excellent defense.
The 2003 BlueClaws went 57-81. And he’ll always have Letterman.