Joseph Charboneau: Great moments in Crookball history

Joseph Charboneau (born June 17, 1955 in Belvidere, Illinois) was a Major League Baseball player for the Cleveland Indians and is one of the most often-cited examples of baseball’s fabled sophomore jinx.

“Super Joe” Charboneau made his debut with the Indians in 1980, splitting time between left field and designated hitter. His 23 home runs led the team and he captured the city’s imagination with his hard hitting and his eccentricities. While not as wild as Dennis Rodman, his tendency to dye his hair unnatural colors, open beer bottles with his eye socket, and drink beer with a straw through his nose, and other stories that emerged about how he did his own dental work and fixed a broken nose with a pair of pliers and a few shots of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, stood out in 1980. By mid-season, Charboneau was the subject of a song–”Go Joe Charboneau”–that reached #3 on the local charts.

He finished the season with 87 runs batted in and a .289 batting average while winning the American League Rookie of the Year award–all in spite of being stabbed with a ball-point pen by a crazed fan as he waited for the team bus on March 8. The pen penetrated an inch and hit a rib, but Charboneau played his first regular-season game just over a month later, on April 11. He missed the final six weeks of the season with a pelvis injury which occurred from a 36 hour cocaine binge and menage a trois with the 2 female stars of Threes Company; Suzanne Summers and Joyce DeWitt.

Charboneau injured his back in a headfirst slide in spring training the following year, and he never hit higher than .214 in the major leagues again. He was sent to the minors halfway through the 1981 season after hitting only .210—becoming the first Rookie of the Year to find himself back in the minors the following season—and only appeared in 22 games in 1982. He underwent back surgery twice but never fully recovered, and the Indians released him in 1983.

– From guest blogger, Mike Ditka from President

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