Monday, July 16, 2007

Dempsey A RoBHoFer?

I’ve joked here before about creating a Rainout Blog Hall of Fame, and just how lame it would be to actually carry out such a goofy idea. However, if I ever were to do so (please stop me), former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey would no doubt be the inaugural inductee of the RoBHoF for his antics in the late 1970s during various rain delays. If you’ve seen the performances by Dempsey, the son of a Vaudeville actor and former Broadway actress, you know all about the player’s precipitation-inspired comedic genius. If not, you may have to look through your dad’s old baseball video tape collection. Dempsey first performed his act during a rain delay at Fenway Park in 1977, well short of the YouTube and DVR generation. I have searched far and wide across the great landscape of the Internet and have yet to find a trace of footage showing Dempsey sliding across a rain-soaked turf.

Baseball Library dot com has a nice bio piece about Dempsey. The last paragraph (I’ve pasted it below) delves into his rain delay act. The paragraph could very well be engraved on Dempsey’s RoBHoF plaque.

Dempsey, whose father was a Vaudeville actor and whose mother was a former Broadway star, was known to be a bit of a ham himself. During a 1977 rain delay at Fenway Park he entertained players and fans alike by performing a baseball pantomime routine with towels stuffed in his shirt to evoke Babe Ruth's well-known belly. He ended the routine by belly-flopping across the rain-soaked tarp at home plate and then leading the crowd in a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head." Dempsey reprised the routine at various times in later years, including once in a September 1982 game at Milwaukee when he wore a Robin Yount jersey and mimicked hitting a home run before circling the bases to the delight of the crowd.

By the way, you may remember White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle tried a similar stunt in April of 2006 but was quickly told to knock it off by general manager Ken Williams, who was quoted as saying, “He (Buehrle) needs to find another hobby.”


Bob said...

I was at Shea Stadium on July 13, 1977 -- the blackout!

The players drove cars onto the field and did pantomime as we left the Stadium in an orderly fashion.


Anonymous said...

in 1977 i was a 9yr old boston kid watching dempsey @ fenway that first day he did it and thought that was what they did during all rain delays

Joann said...

Many of times, I had the pleasure of watching Rick. To me is all the all time best entertainer in the game of baseball. One of the best catchers of all times. One time, he perform with a local band, Paper Cup. I have the video. 2 thumbs up to Number 24.

Marie K said...

I was in Fenway that day. The 100 year anniversary brought back that memory. Funny that it was so many years ago. Seems like just a couple years ago.

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