Rocky Bridges, who died on Jan. 27, was a well-traveled utility infielder-minor league manager-raconteur, a baseball lifer who always had a cheek bulging with chaw and a funny story on his lips.
Eleven seasons in the bigs split among seven teams, a lifetime batting average of .247 and probably 247 ancedotes. I'm surprised, really, that I've done the Sunday Funnies for four winters and never used a Rocky Bridges story.
So let's rectify that ...
Bridges is managing in El Paso, and he's coaching third base when one of his players, Ethan Blackaby, hits a home run. As Blackaby rounds third, Bridges extends his hand in congratulations -- and presses his well-chewed wad of tobacco into Blackaby's palm. Blackaby took the chaw in stride -- and passed it on to on-deck hitter Tom Egan at home plate
It was Egan who nearly got sick.