Last night was the debut of ESPN’s documentary “Catching Hell,” about the night that Cubs fans went off the deep end and blamed their favourite team’s entire dark history on a fan that tried to grab a foul ball.That fan, of course, was Steve Bartman. While Bartman was not interviewed for the piece, it is very clear that his life was ruined by that night at Wrigley Field back in 2003.
But as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one whose life or career went downhill after that game. And while none of these are a result of that one game, the names raise some eyebrows…
Sammy Sosa — Sosa was the starting right fielder for the Cubs back in 2003. That year he hit 40 home runs. It was his sixth straight season with at least 40. But the next season, Sosa hit just .253 with 35 home runs and was run out of town after the season. Sosa would play just two more seasons. In his three seasons after the Bartman game, Sosa averaged just 23 home runs and was disgraced by his link to performance enhancing drugs.
Mark Prior — The starting pitcher for the Cubs that night was Mark Prior, the pitcher that was expected to win multiple Cy Young Awards and lead the Cubs to the promised land. And in 2003, his second in the big leagues, he was 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts. He was an All-Star that season and finished third in the Cy Young voting. Prior, who was on the mound when Bartman made his attempted grab, would not pitch again that season as the Cubs lost the series to the Marlins. And after the 2003 season, Prior’s career spiraled down into a mess of injuries. Prior would only win 18 more games in his big league career, and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2006.
Bernie Mac — The comedian? Yes, Bernie Mac the comedian. Only minutes before the Bartman play, Bernie Mac was the special guest that night called on to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” In 2003, Bernie Mac was on top of the entertainment world. There was “Ocean’s Eleven,” and his TV show (The Bernie Mac Show). But after the Bartman game, Bernie Mac put out one of the worst baseball movies ever, “Mr. 3000.” And then five years after that infamous night in 2003, Bernie Mac passed away due to complications from pneumonia.
And lest we think the curse of Bartman was only laid on those associated with the Cubs. Consider that one of the relievers used by the Marlins that night was Ugueth Urbina, who was arrested for attempted murder in 2005 when he allegedly attacked some hired help with a machete.
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