Friday, May 06, 2005


May 6th, 1971

Israel Alcantara Born

More commonly known as "Izzy" Alcantara, he was a corner OF/1B in the Red Sox system for several years, and despite being a pretty good minor league hitter, never really got a chance in the majors for a number of reasons. A prominent one was internal politics of the Red Sox in the Dan Duquette/Jimy Williams era. To wit, in the 2000 season Duquette called Alcantara up, and after Williams used him as a pinch-runner, only to have him be picked off, Williams refused to ever use him again, but Duquette refused to send him back down so Alcantara spent a couple of weeks wasting away on the Sox bench, effectively forcing the team into playing with a twenty-four man roster. Small wonder that team didn't win anything.

Alcantara also never hung on in the Major Leagues for an incident that took place in the minors, which although damaging to his career, endeared me to him forever. Feeling himself the victim of a disproportionate number of brushback pitches, Alcantara charged the mound after another pitch sailed too close to him. Alcantara decided he didn't want the catcher messing with his efforts to get at the pitcher, so in an innovation previously unseen, he superkicked him, knocking the catcher over before heading out to the mound. I can't imagine what it must've been like for the pitcher, here was a guy--listed at 6'2", 210--who is plainly insane (he just did a Jean Claude van Damme on your catcher) charging out to have a piece of you next. The pitcher responded by throwing his glove (which never, ever, works) and then looking for back-up, which lead to the comical site of Alcantara spinning around, fists up, looking to fight the entire opposing infield. This may sound rather violent and unpleasant, but when you watch the video (it can be found here) it really is high comedy.

Unsurprisingly, the league office found it less than high comedy and Alcantara received a seven day suspension and was dropped from the International League All-Star team. Despite this, he was called back up to the Sox in September and played in a few games, but was released after the season. He played a handful of games with the Brewers in 2002 and is, to the best of my knowledge, now in
Japan, where I suppose his martial arts skills are more appreciated.

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