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Thursday, December 27, 2012

John D’Acquisto: The Card That Never Was

As Dave Jordan puts it…“John D’Acquisto shares his experience at the free agent rodeo, as well as the uniform he very nearly and dearly wished he wore.”

“I don’t want to go to New York,” my wife said, a half-empty glass of Cabernet accentuating her words, “I don’t care how much the Yankees will pay us.”

It’s October 1980. We’re enjoying some wine while standing on a porch in Providence, Rhode Island, a gorgeous Victorian with a wraparound, set against one of those 100-year old homes built by the well-to do of New England in the 1880s, walking distance to the ocean. Six, seven bedrooms. High ceilings. Lovely neighborhood; expansive front lawns, personal tennis courts. The choppy wind and constant drizzle would be the perfect analogy for the conversation my wife and I had at the time, trying to figure out where my career would be taking us.

...Bittersweet post-script to this story, I finished 1982 with the Oakland A’s. Billy Martin was my manager and a great one at that. We had a nice relationship for the few months I played for him. The following spring, April 1983, I found myself the final cut out of A’s camp. Without a team, I called Billy, who was back managing the Yankees. He was happy to hear from me, said there was possibly a spot for me in the back of the bullpen. “Let me check with George and I’ll call ya right back.” Say what you want about Billy Martin, but he called me in 15 minutes. There was a bit of a laugh in his voice, but not funny ha-ha. “Jesus, Johnny,” Billy snorted, “What the hell’d you do to George?” “Whaddya mean?” Of course I knew exactly what he meant. “I dunno, after I mentioned bringing you on board, he said ‘No Fricking Way,’ and slammed the phone down.” I didn’t blame George, either. I was paid 300,000 in 1981 dollars to hear that response. Doesn’t make it any less painful.

I never had the chance to pitch in Yankee Stadium. Never had the chance to hear Bob Sheppard announce me into a 5-4 game in the seventh inning. Never had that chance to bust balls with Goose in the Yankees bullpen or jump on that pile when they clinched the American League championship in 1981.

It remains the greatest regret of my Baseball career.

Repoz Posted: December 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, yankees

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   1. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: December 27, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4333010)
Weird. I remember D'Acquisto well from the Giants but have no recollection of him being on the A's even though he was a Giant when I was far too young to have known anything about it, so my memories of him as a Giant are fabricated strictly from baseball cards. I'm a nutter.

Also, can't blame his wife for not wanting to go to New York in 1980 if she watched movies at all. Hollywood made NYC out to be the worst place on earth then with the exception of Woody Allen. Hell, even The Facts of Life piled on--Tootie wasn't alone in New York for 10 minutes before a pimp tried to put her on the street. What the hell, man, leave Tootie alone!
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: December 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4333019)
“I don’t want to go to New York,” my wife said, a half-empty glass of Cabernet accentuating her words, “I don’t care how much the Yankees will pay us.”


That's a hell of a woman right there.
   3. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: December 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4333020)
“I don’t want to go to New York,” my wife said, a half-empty glass of Cabernet accentuating her words, “I don’t care how much the Yankees will pay us.”

My kind of woman!

I know it's all a business and everything, but I wonder how many players retain their childhood likes and dislikes for teams and if that carries over into not taking any of the Steinbrenners' evil money, no matter what.
   4. depletion Posted: December 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4333030)
[quote“I don’t want to go to New York,” my wife said, a half-empty glass of Cabernet accentuating her words, “I don’t care how much the Yankees will pay us.”]
Don't. Stay in San Diego. And they won't be paying us, they'll be paying me.
   5. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: December 27, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4333156)
should have gone to the Yankees and dumped the wife.
   6. Most doorknobs are on the right side of the doors Posted: December 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4333173)
I know it's all a business and everything, but I wonder how many players retain their childhood likes and dislikes for teams and if that carries over into not taking any of the Steinbrenners' evil money, no matter what.


It was heavily rumored that Ken Griffey Jr. despised the Yankees and would never have gone there because Billy Martin yelled at him or something in the clubhouse when he was a kid. But my guess is once you're drafted fandom is no longer a real consideration.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: December 27, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4333216)
But my guess is once you're drafted fandom is no longer a real consideration.


Maybe not for the athlete, but I've already told young Cormac, the only baseballing Unacceptable, that if he someday played for the Yanks, I'd root for him to do well in low-leverage situations, but I couldn't promise anything more than that.

The rest of the family thinks I'm joking.
   8. Chase Insteadman Wannabe Posted: December 27, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4333222)
But my guess is once you're drafted fandom is no longer a real consideration.

Phil Hughes gave up his Red Sox fandom pretty quickly after being drafted. I'm sure Yankee fans have similarly become Red Sox fans after being drafted by Boston.
   9. spycake Posted: December 28, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4333752)
After signing this contract, over 1981 and 1982, he averaged a walk per inning (and only about 5 K/9) -- in AAA!

Somehow I don't think everything would have been lollipops and sunshine if he had signed with New York. I doubt he would have been around to celebrate their 1981 playoff victories too.

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