The Macho Man, the Hatchet Man, and classic Orioles baseball

A-Ha! (image:Where’s Randy Savage?)

Imagine having the Macho Man at catcher and the Hatchet Man behind him calling balls and strikes. It’s the stuff made for either pay-per-view television or a minor league promotion, but it could just as easily have happened at a major league ballpark.

Before “Where’s Randy Savage?“, “Snap into it,” or even “Oh yeah,” legendary professional wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage played minor league ball in the Cardinals organization. Mel Proctor and John Lowenstein discussed Savage’s brief baseball career during the July 15, 1989, Orioles broadcast, which MASN showed on Wednesday as part of its “Orioles Classics” series.

After the Macho Man’s name emerged, Proctor and Lowenstein moved on to discuss umpire Ken Kaiser, who covered first-base duties for the July 15 game. Kaiser, a former bouncer, once wrestled under the name “The Hatchet Man.”

During his wrestling days, Kaiser wore a black hood and carried an ax. Some (many?) would say he had an ax to grind with Earl Weaver and Eddie Murray as he feuded regularly with both Orioles.

Weaver feuds with “The Hatchet Man.” (image: The Sun)

Back to Savage. Second only to Hulk Hogan among ’80s wrestlers, Savage (real name Randy Poffo) had 16 home runs in four minor league seasons spent between the Rookie and A levels. He had a .254/.292./.391 overall slash line. In other words, wrestling was a wise choice.

Here’s a photo of a retired Macho Man attending a Braves-Mets game. (Notice he’s checking his cell phone – He would’ve fit perfectly at Camden Yards in the late ’90s and early ’00s).

The baseball-wrestling connection goes beyond the Macho Man and Hatchet Man. Consider:

-Babe Ruth was once asked to serve as a guest referee for a pro wrestling watch.

-Current Independent Wrestler “Always Trending” Tyson Tyler played minor league baseball in short-season A ball. Tyler’s real name is Brian Barnett. Baseball Reference has his minor league stats.

-“Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker and all-time hits leader Pete Rose are members of the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.

-White Sox conditioning coach Dale Torborg, son of former player and manager Jeff Torborg, used to be a professional wrestler. His dad, meanwhile, holds the distinction of having caught Sandy Koufax’s perfect game as well as two no-hitters, the second of which was Nolan Ryan’s first no-no.

Image sources: “Where’s Randy Savage?” and The Baltimore Sun.



About Matthew Taylor

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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