July 22, 2011

"Le Capitaine Expo: The First Steve Rogers"

When I first saw the preview for the movie "Captain America: The First Avenger"...I knew I needed to see it and I had three reasons why.

One...the obvious. I dig the character and it looks fantastic.

Two..."The First Avenger" shares a name with one of my favorite mustachioed hurlers of the 80s.  And let's be honest, anytime you can reminisce about the Montreal Expos...you win.

And, lastly, a certain friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) used to use the name "Steve Rogers" when out at the strip club. And no, not because of the comic book hero...but, rather, as a shout out to the pitcher.

Confused yet?

Thankfully, Michael Clair from one of my favorite sites (Old Time Family Baseball) broke down the differences (and similarities) of the two men named Steve Rogers.

Steve Rogers was a 4-F civilian who hated the Nazis so much that he was willing to became a human subject for the Super Soldier Serum, eventually transforming into Captain America.

Steve Rogers is also a man from Jackson City, Missouri, who, ironically, played his entire career with the Montreal Expos of Not-America. He is also the only Steve Rogers to ever grace a Major League box score.

Despite twice leading the league in losses, 1974 and 1976, and upsetting his manager, Dick Williams, for not being a big game pitcher, Rogers actually had a pretty spectacular career. In 13 seasons, the longest tenure for any player who spent their entire career with "les Expos", Rogers won 158 games while posting a 3.17 ERA, good enough for a career ERA+ of 116.

Unfortunately, it’s his lone postseason relief appearance that is Rogers’ legacy. Just as Captain America must continuously relive Bucky’s fiery death atop a rocket, so too must the baseball playing version have his own rocket related memory.

With the score tied at one in the 1981 NLCS, Rogers was brought on to pitch the top of the ninth inning. With two outs, Rick Monday stepped to the plate. On a 3-1 pitch, Monday took Rogers’ offering and blasted the ball over the fence, ending the Expos season.

Is Rick Monday an anagram for Captain America’s arch nemesis, the Red Skull? No, it’s not.

But their first names both begin with R’s. Coincidence?

You decide.

Please, head over to Clair's site and read the entire piece...it's pretty special.


And in case you were wondering...I hit the midnight screening of "Captain America: The First Avenger" and I really, really dug it.  The only issue I had...not enough Warren Cromartie.

Sorry...confusing my Rogers again.


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