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Where did you go, Joe Charboneau?


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One of the more spectacular ROY flameouts in history, Cleveland's "Super Joe" Charboneau, was recently arrested in a barroom brawl in North Ridgeville, Ohio*, prompting an interesting retrospective from HBT.

In his very brief time in the limelight, Charboneau's exploits suggested some sort of hybrid of Rocky Colavito (not really, but Indian fans liked to think so in 1980) and a boxcar hobo, and actually inspired a regional radio hit, "Go Joe Charboneau." Some of his more infamous off-field accomplishments:

...As a youth, [Charboneau] used to fight boxing matches in boxcars at the price of $25 a bout. As an adult, Super Joe had other tendencies, like opening beer bottles with his eye sockets, something that most humans would consider too painful—and dangerous. (After opening the bottle, he sometimes drank the beer through his nose, providing a fitting exclamation point to the achievement.)

He also ate cigarettes, another unsafe habit. On one occasion, he decided to rid himself of an unwanted tattoo, not by consulting a tattoo parlor, but by cutting it out himself with a razor blade. And in perhaps his most pain-inducing stunt, Charboneau once tried to repair his own broken nose with a pair of pliers. He apparently eased the pain with a few shots of whiskey, in his best attempt to recreate medical practices of the 1800s.

*Reprehensibly, the altercation was with a female companion. (Silver lining: according to the police report, she gave better than she got.) Say it ain't so, Joe.

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More two-fisted tales of Charboneau glory:

  • "Charboneau also remembers being stabbed three times in fights with local migrant workers. He closed one of the wounds with fishing line."
  • "In the minor leagues, Charboneau couldn't afford some dental work, so he cut around the offending tooth with a razor and pulled it out with a vise grip. He is so strong he can open the twist-off cap on a bottle of beer with the muscles of his left forearm."
  • "Last spring when the Indians were in Mexico City for a series of exhibition games, Joe was approached for an autograph by a bearded man, one Oscar Martinez, who asked him where he was from. When Joe said, ' California,' the man plunged his pen into Joe's left side. The four-inch wound wasn't serious, and the man, who turned out to have a hatred of Americans, was fined the equivalent of $2.27 and released. Joe wasn't particularly upset; he just wondered if the Bic was still writing."
  • "...He is a direct descendant of a legend, Toussaint Charbonneau, who, along with his Indian wife, Sacagawea, guided Lewis and Clark on the second leg of their expedition."
  • "Joe has taken up rug hooking with his wife, Cindi, even though he still doesn't know how to knot a necktie because he never had to before."


Incidentally, Charboneau absolutely raked versus the O's during the '80 season, putting up a .407|.448|.926|1.374 line with 4HR and 10RBI in 29 plate appearances. Good thing for us he was a one-year wonder.

Posnanski on Charboneau.

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