Imagine you’re a baseball player that finally made it to the big leagues. And you’re a first baseman, so you get to interact with every opposing player that gets on base, perhaps even some star players that you’re a huge fan of. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Sean Casey early in his MLB career.
Casey joined Ron Darling and Jimmy Rollins on the latest episode of Unwritten: Behind Baseball's Secret Rules to discuss gamesmanship and mind games. “The Mayor,” as many call him, came to be known as one of the most talkative players in the game, and that started right from the get-go.
“My third week in the big leagues, I was just so excited to be there. And I was, I wasn't doing, like, I had just come back from an injury. I was hitting like a buck 70,” Casey said.
“I'm like, ‘I'm gonna be outta here soon.’ I was like, ‘I gotta get as many conversations in as possible.’ I was asking guys to sign balls: ‘Hey bro, can you send a ball over to me? Thanks a lot.’ ‘Cause you know, I may never be back here again. I'm scared to death,” he continued.
As a first baseman in Cincinnati, Casey had the pleasure of introducing himself to Henry Rodriguez the former Montreal Expos star that slugged a career-high 36 homers in 1996. And when Rodriguez homered in Montreal, the fans would throw Oh Henry bars onto the field, something that Casey particularly enjoyed.
After a leadoff single, Casey got his chance to talk to Mr. Oh Henry himself.
“So now he's got his lead and I'm, I'm talking to him like ‘big fan of yours, bro. Love it in Montreal when you go deep, when they throw those Oh Henry bars on the field.’ And right when I say that, he turns to me and he’s like ‘Thanks a lot, man.’”
Of course, right as Rodriguez turned to thank Casey, Villone threw a pick off that caught Henry napping.
“Right when he turns, Ron Villone freaking step off pick. I catch the ball as he's saying ‘thank you.’ I’m like ‘Bro, I am so sorry.’ I was like, ‘there's no bad intentions. I just got here. I'm probably gonna get sent down tomorrow, but you're out. My bad,’ you know, and I tagged him out and he walked off, looked at me like, you know ‘what a jerk.’ I'm like, sorry.”
Casey wasn’t sent down the next day, nor was he “never back” in the majors again. The first baseman played 1,405 games in the majors across 12 seasons with five different teams, and the baseball world is lucky to have such an amazing storyteller.