Everyone now knows that former professional wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage died last weekend in an apparently successful attempt to stop the rapture and, thus, save us all. He’s pretty much the new Jesus.
But did you know that he was also an ex-Cardinal farmhand, playing in the low ends of the Cardinal system for a few years, never stopped loving the Cardinals, and even taught his then teammate a training technique that is still used today in the majors?
Savage was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals organization as a catcher out of high school. He was placed in the minor leagues to develop, where he mostly played as an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Soxfarm systems. Savage was 18 when he began playing minor league baseball; one of his teammates on the 1971 Gulf Coast League Cardinals was Larry Herndon who was also his roommate. Savage would swing a bat into a hanging car tire as a regular training exercise in order to strengthen his hands and make sure he utilized his legs during swings, the technique was so effective that Herndon adopted it and used it during his own career as a baseball coach.
Even if you apply the wikipedia standard of calling a third of that bullshit, that’s still a pretty cool story. The Post Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz followed up with this note in his weekly Bernie’s Bits column:
Savage, who died Friday, was always proud of his Cardinals’ association. I remember him as approachable and friendly during his occasional visits to Busch Stadium to watch baseball. He once told me that he’d always be a Cardinal.
Did you also know that, contrary to our personal long-held beliefs, Randy Savage was not born roided up wearing a cowboy hat with neon green tassels and a beard. Below we have a picture of the beard at a young age, just starting to emerge from the general mustache area and beginning to creep chin-ward. Also pictured: Randy “Savage” Poffo (behind the young beard).