Oh, what could have been. Drafted by the Braves. Fought back from adversity to become an All-Star. Two straight 30-30 seasons. Fan favorite. Landed a big contract after a career year in 1993. Ron would be a Brave for years to come...
And then he got on that goddamn ATV.
I remember the news report, but only in images and feelings.
I need a moment to compose myself. Check out the stats:
Lifetime OPS: .804
Yeah, I know. Not even close. Maybe if he had stayed at second base and won a half-dozen Gold Gloves. But he could have. If he wasn't a daredevil. If he stayed with the Reds. If he didn't sign with the Cardinals and play in the stadium where Sluggers go to Die. He didn't, but he could have. Ron will fail in his quest to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but you know what? He failed a lot more honorably than a few other sure thing players from the '80s and '90s that I can think of. It still hurts though that Ron went from this:
He'll always be a Brave though, and I look forward to hearing him on SportSouth broadcasts in 2009.
Prediction: 6 votes which is one more than that DAMN CHEATER THAT PULLED HIM OFF THE BAG IN 1991. DAMN YOU HRBEK!!!!!
Cards pictured: 1992 Score Superstar, 2001 Upper Deck
Rookie card: 1988 Fleer, Score, Donruss, Topps Traded