‘86 Baseball Prank Almost Spelled MLBer’s Demise

The best MLB pitcher (and biggest goofball) not in the baseball Hall of Fame, Bert Blyleven, spins some anecdotal gold at NBCSports.com about his favorite baseball pranks of all-time.

Mickey Hatcher and his huge glove

(Mickey Hatcher’s Deadliest Catch)

My favorite from the piece involves current Angels coach and former longtime MLB player Mickey Hatcher (who else?):

I remember one incident in particular at spring training in Orlando in 1986. It was St. Patrick’s Day and Mickey went into the maintenance room next to the dugout and found some green paint that was being used on the outfield walls.

He decided to cover himself in that paint. He painted his face green, his arms green, everything that showed under his uniform was green.

So he comes out all green, and he didn’t realize that the paint was enamel. It was a hot March day and everyone was laughing. Well the game started, and Mickey was sitting next to me on the bench, and all of a sudden he told me “Bert, I’m having trouble breathing.”

His pores had closed and the paint was going into his system. We had to take him out of there and back into the clubhouse, douse him with rubbing alcohol to get the paint off of him. Luckily he ended up being OK.

Brian Schmitz of ORLANDO SENTINEL chronicled the incident at the time, and it turns out that Hatcher actually played in the game while covered in the green enamel.

He was standing in the Twins’ clubhouse restroom recently before a spring game, calmly applying green paint to his body. The paint was the same kind maintenance crews at Tinker Field use on the outfield walls.

Dipping a towel into a bucket, Hatcher painted his arms, neck and face.

It was March 17. Hatcher merely was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day — not that Madcap Mickey needs a holiday to clown around.

”Hey, Hatch,” third baseman Gary Gaetti said. ”You’re going to suffocate. Your skin’s got to breathe, man.”

”My skin doesn’t breathe,” Hatcher said. ”If I get dizzy, I’ll take myself out.”

Hatcher then skipped onto the field to lead early-arriving fans in an Irish song, waving a green paintbrush like a conductor’s baton.

The crowd sang and roared with laughter.

Who said today’s players don’t have fun any more?

”With everything going on in the game maybe it doesn’t seem like we’re enjoying ourselves,” Hatcher said. ”There’s always the money thing, some guys unhappy over their contracts, worried about what other guys are making. . . .

”And now you can’t pick up the paper without reading about drugs. There’s a lot of pressure on players today. It’s tough. But I think for the most part we still have fun, or we wouldn’t do it.

”We’ve been playing since we were kids. It’s all we ever wanted to do. It’s not like we’re digging ditches. You got to remember it’s still a game.” Hatcher, 31, comes to the park every day smiling. Known throughout the league as a notorious prankster, Hatcher seems to be of a vanishing breed in baseball.

Sounds like Hatcher narrated the story to Schmitz but left out the embarrassing part - which is the only reason the story should’ve been written in the first place!

Or was Blyleven guilty of embellishment?

Hatcher and Blyleven sound like the first two police officers who happened upon the Tiger Woods Thanksgiving car accident.

Except of course, the ballplayers weren’t paid handsomely for their stories.