Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Player Profile: Randy Bass

I have four cards of Randy Bass. This one is from 1982 Fleer.

Playing career: First baseman Randy Bass played parts of six seasons in the major leagues in the US. In 130 games he hit .212 with 9 HR and 42 RBI. He then moved to Japan and became one of the greatest players in that country’s history, twice winning the Triple Crown. In 1985 he nearly tied the single-season home record of Sadaharu Oh but was intentionally walked every at bat in his final game by the Yomiuri Giants, who were managed by Oh. During the 1980’s there was a lot of anti-foreigner sentiment in Japan, and Bass faced a lot of resentment from both executives and fans, leading Bass to say he hatedplaying in Japan.

Interesting stories: In 1985, Bass helped the Hanshin Tigers win the Japan Series. Hanshin fans celebrated by throwing people who looked like each player on the team into the Dotonbori River. They couldn’t find anyone who looked like the bearded American, so they stole a Colonel Sanders statue from a nearby KFC and threw it into the river instead. The incident caused a great deal of embarrassment and the team was considered cursed. The “Curse of Colonel Sanders” is well known in Japan and the team has not won the series since, even after the statue was recovered in 2009.

Bass’s career ended in 1988 when he returned to the United States in the middle of the season after his 8-year-old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Negotiations about the date of his return to Hanshin turned acrimonious, and on July 20, the team’s new general manager, Shingo Furuya, who was under pressure from the team to negotiate firmly with the Bass family, who he considered personal friends, committed suicide.

Bass also played winter ball in Mexico in the late 1970s, where he was a teammate of a young Rickey Henderson. Bass and Henderson were at a bar in Navojoa when a gunfight broke out. At the time both were wearing stylish boots with four-inch heels; Henderson was shot in one of those heels. Had he been wearing flat shoes, the career of baseball’s all-time steals leader may have been quite different.

Where he is now: He has been an Oklahoma state senator since 2004 (Democratic party) . He also owns a cattle and wheat farm.

My memories: He is from before my time; only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fifth when you type Randy Ba, between Randy Barry, a cast member on “The Real World”, and Randy Baruh, a realtor in Manhattan. Another prominent Randy Bass is Associate Provost at Georgetown University.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Mike Basso.

1 comment:

  1. Crazy stuff. I'll have to dig out my Randy Bass cards now.