I swear what I am going to type in this entry is true. Or at least I am not lying.
At the very least, I am being truthful in how I am recalling something. I could be wrong. I might have been mistaken when I saw something and then remembered my mistake as fact.
I understand that anecdotal evidence is not always reliable. If it were, then every person who claimed to see a ghost, see a flying saucer or heard the voice of God would have to be considered as hard evidence.
I get it.
And yet I still need to relay this story.
It involves Joe Hesketh, seen here as a member of the Montreal Expos. My memory is of him when he played for the Red Sox.
Hesketh was from upstate New York, not far from Montreal. He was a second round pick by the Expos in 1980 out of SUNY Buffalo and had a solid rookie year in 1985, winning 10 games with an ERA of 2.49 and finishing 8th in the Rookie of the Year vote.
He broke his leg at the end of the 1985 season and had shoulder issues in 1986 and 1987. He returned in 1988 and became an effective left handed reliever.
Hesketh played for the Expos, Braves and Red Sox in 1990 and had a comeback season in 1991. He went 12-4, leading the American League with a .750 winning percentage.
He played 4 1/2 seasons in Boston with varying degrees of success as a reliever and a starter. His career ended with the 1994 strike.
OK. That is who Hesketh is. Now let me tell you what I SWEAR TO GOD I saw him do in a game.
It was either 1991 or 1992. I was still at NYU at the time. I was watching him pitch a game. I believe it was against Texas, who were still playing in Arlington Stadium at the time.
At one point, Joe Hesketh threw a god awful pitch. He went full Nuke LaLoosh. It sailed over everything. Clearly the ball slipped out of his hand and just went sailing.
Fine. Happens to every pitcher.
But then he looked back towards the centerfield camera, stared at it, and smiled. I jumped out of my chair when he did it.
He totally was doing a take to the camera as if to say “Did you see that? Man, I messed THAT up!”
Either he was saving face or it was just him being a goof.
I told my college roommate Jon Ward about it and he found it to be as funny as I did.
Later that year, I went up to Boston and saw a game at Fenway Park. The players wives were involved in a canned food drive. I found Joe Hesketh’s wife and told her the story. She laughed and said “That sounds like Joe.”
But I never found anyone else who saw it. It doesn’t exist on YouTube. For all I know, he glanced back at the shortstop for some reason and I misinterpreted it.
I want to believe it is true. If ANYONE else saw it, please send me an e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please tell me Joe Hesketh did a take to the camera in 1991. HOW ELSE CAN GO ON WITH MY LIFE?