It was 1975. I stood in the batter’s box, awaiting the next pitch.
But this was no ordinary baseball game. It was Game 6 of the World Series. My team, the Boston Red Sox, trailed the Cincinnati Reds by three runs in the eighth inning. And we needed to win this game to stay alive.
As I walked to the plate, I was sweating bullets. With two men on base, I could even the score with a single swing. At the very least, I had to avoid striking out. All these thoughts were running through my head with the count at 2-2 and the pitcher readying his next pitch. It was a fastball, right down the middle. I took a swing, heard the crack of the bat, and watched as the ball flew into the air and sailed over the center-field wall. A home run! I couldn’t believe it. As I rounded the bases, I yelled at Pete Rose, the Reds legend, “Don’t you wish you were this strong?”
You might imagine that hitting a clutch home run in a crucial World Series contest would be the defining moment of my life. The truth, however, is that I was totally miserable. I was addicted to drugs—I had even used some before the game. I was dealing with deep insecurities. I thought my father didn’t love me, yet I couldn’t stop seeking his approval. Meanwhile, my marriage was shaky at best, and I was constantly at odds with my managers and coaches.
After my World Series heroics, I spent the next few years bouncing around from team to team until I finally washed out of the big leagues altogether. I was only 32, and my career was over.
Looking to rebound, I returned to my home state of Michigan, where I took cosmetology lessons and opened my own hair salon. I operated the salon for eight years, all while continuing to use ...1
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