Ron Darling, of 1986 Mets and RBI Baseball (the original) fame; has shared the tale of how his career in the big leagues ended with Deadspin. It’s a great read, or it wouldn’t be getting a link from us.
As I was leaving, the players were out at batting practice, so I dressed quickly. There was some shame in it for me, that here I am released and these guys are going to go out to battle again and I’m going to go home.
I didn’t want to face anyone. I didn’t want to shake hands. I didn’t want to have the moment that I see all the great players have—and I certainly wasn’t a great player—but where they break down emotionally. I didn’t want to have that.
And so I kind of did my own walk of shame as I left the locker room and drove home. And on the way home I stopped. I got one of those tall-boy Bud Light beers, and I said, You know what? I’m going to celebrate this. I’m going to have a beer as I’m driving home. Sip the beer, relax, put the sun roof down, enjoy the sun. I’m going to get to my house, which is five minutes away, I’m going to see my family, and I’m going to be able to tell them, Hey, Daddy’s home, and he’s going to be home for good. In those days we used to celebrate by going to Benihana. My kids loved Benihana.
And when I got there, one of my sons was on his way to a sleepover, my other son was going to a play date, and my wife, who was a tennis player, a very competitive tennis player, was going to a weekend tennis match [laughs]. We had not planned anything for my birthday because ballplayers don’t celebrate their birthday if they’re summer birthdays, because you’re playing that night.
So nothing had been planned for my birthday. The kids are doing their thing. My wife was doing her thing. And I just thought it was very funny that I had these notions of coming home and getting everyone together and going to Benihana and celebrating that I was going to be home.
The read continues and it’s a great look into the life of a big league player and just one anecdote about what it’s like when it comes to a sudden halt.