Albert Belle reportedly had an Italian man walk around the Cleveland Indians clubhouse banging bats together because the slugger was convinced he was lucky.
These, my friends, are our kinds of stories.
SportsGrid ran across a very interesting tidbit from a recent Q&A session between Jeff Pearlman and Tom Verducci.
You can see the entire interview at Pearlman's website, but the important section follows below.
• Did Albert Belle intimidate you? Why or why not?: No. Seriously, what was he going to do? Punch me? Maybe it’s because an Indians official once told me a story (true or not) that Belle thought Italians carried luck and he would have one of the equipment managers, who was Italian, walk around the clubhouse clicking two of his bats together to bring him luck.
Again, the entire conversation is well worth your time, and it delves into things such as Verducci's early days reporting and discussions with Ken Caminiti on the subject of PED's.
You will also find out that the Sports Illustrated writer likes Dr. Dre more than Celine Dion. Still, the greatest thing to come from this exchange is the added knowledge on the enigmatic slugger.
Belle was a career .295 hitter who clubbed 381 home runs in a career that spanned 12 years and saw him with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles.
He was known as an intimidating presence on and off the field, getting into disputes with fans and reporters.
According to Verducci, he was hardly a menacing figure who would have a young reporter cowering. He was just a superstitious ball player.
Those are the best kinds of ball players.
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