Jeff Pearlman holds a weekly Q&A on his website called “The Quaz Q&A,” and this week’s guest was Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated and the MLB Network. Verducci is one of baseball’s most respected writers, and that respect affords him a level of clubhouse access few national scribes can claim. And that clubhouse access leads to Verducci having some pretty weird stories.
One in particular, which he relayed to Pearlman, involves Italians, Albert Belle, and a very strange superstition.
Did Albert Belle intimidate you? Why or why not?: No. Seriously, what was he going to do? Punch me? Maybe it’s because an Indians official once told me a story (true or not) that Belle thought Italians carried luck and he would have one of the equipment managers, who was Italian, walk around the clubhouse clicking two of his bats together to bring him luck.”
In 12 major league seasons for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles, Belle’s .295/.369/.564 and 381 career home runs hardly seemed like luck. Though he did make his own luck sometimes, Italians aside.
We really do recommend that you read the entire Q&A, if only to read about drunk Billy Martin, managers holding grudges against players and an honestly reflective Ken Caminiti.