A true Rookie Rocker
The following is a guest post by Clam Simmons, a librarian living in New England. Clam is not my pen name or persona. Clam is clam, a venerable Royals historian of the old school. Clam is on twitter @orangehunchback. He recently contacted me about writing a series of pieces about the 1994 Royals. These are their stories.
To say that Royals Legend Bob Hamelin raised eyebrows in 1994 would be an understatement. Hamelin shaved them. Robert James Hammerstorm opened up the post-Brett era with 24 flyballs, smashing Achilles Jackson's rookie record in 15 less games. It appeared that Royals Nation had found the heir apparent to Balboni's throne. But tragedy struck in 1995. Robert James T. Kirk Hameron began to play like a sleepwalker marooned in a field of play. He swung at pitches from the on-deck circle. He was thrown out trying to stretch a ground-rule double into a triple. Watching Hamelin in 1995 was like watching a rotten blueberry fail try to sneak back into a presidential bowl of decorative fruits. After hitting .164 in his first 53 games Robert Cornelius McGillicuddy Hamelin was sent to AAA. It was not a pleasant trip. While undergoing the Osborne-mandated physical at the Nebraska border crossing, Hamelin was diagnosed with late stage Charboneau's.
Three weeks ago I met up with Royals Legend Bob Hamelin at Pappi's Pizza in Lee's Summit. Hamelin ordered the Taco Pizza. We talked about life, art, politics and the slugger's bout with Charboneau's.
CS: What does Charboneau's feel like?
BH: Your baseball bat starts to tingle.
CS: The male prostate?
BH: No, no. When I picked up a baseball bat, it started to tingle, like electricity. Bats felt like picking up electric fence.
CS: Oh sorry. Were there signs of Charboneau's in 1994?
BH: Sometimes I think the whole thing is misunderstood. 1994 was a magical year. I felt the magic and I played beyond my possibilities.
CS: What do you mean?
BH: Um. Nothing. What the hell, this is Pappi's Pizza right? There was this hot dog vendor named Dean. I was a rookie and some of the veterans were like, oh go visit Dean he'll take care of you.
CS: What time of year was this?
BH: Spring training.
CS: Was Dean a hot dog vendor in Baseball City?
BH: No, Dean traveled with the team. He'd be up all night preparing marinade for the hotdogs. Then he'd get up at three in the morning to soak the franks in secret sauce. Those hotdogs were hanging out in secret sauce for eight hours before they would even touch the grill.
CS: What was in the hotdogs?
BH: Do I have to spell it out again? Secret sauce.
CS: Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm just going to repeat what you said because I've been told I'm a bad listener. Dean was a hotdog vendor that traveled with Hal McRae's team and served the players hotdogs injected with steroids?
BH: That's what I thought! I thought I was totally juiced. But during the strike....the Royals got rid of Dean. It was a very dumpy situation but at the farewell party Dean pulled me aside and said that those hotdogs didn't have steroids. It felt good to know I was swinging natural my entire rookie year.
CS: So what did you mean earlier when you said your were playing beyond your physical possibilities? What did that mean?
BH: There was just something different about Dean's hotdogs. They just really gave me a boost.
CS: If Dean had stayed on do you think that you could have warded off Charbonneau's?
BH: That's what I've always wondered. I don't know. I figured if I had stayed busy eating hotdogs I wouldn't have had time to get injured or released.
Author's note: I located Dean. We met up at a Buffalo Wild Wings. After six pitchers of BL Lime, Dean confessed that he had injected chemicals into Hamelin's hotdogs that year. He listed numerous ingredients including: Albert Belle hair, horse adrenaline, pulverized bald eagle talons, owl memories, curdled moose cheese and high fructose corn syrup.