Like a cowboy in the wild west, when Rick Vaughn stared you down through those spectacles it made even the toughest man quiver in their boots. Is it because he can hurl an object at your head at a hundred miles per hour? Or that he could he beat you to a pulp in the blink of an eye? The answer is yes to both. When Ricky Vaughn broke into the Majors in 1989 he was raw power. A fastball that sat at a 100 MPH was his weapon of choice, the problem is he had no idea where it was going. With control problems garnering him the infamous nickname “The Wild Thing”, it wasn’t until Vaughn was given a pair of horn spectacles that he truly became one of the game’s elite. Armed with a fastball he called “the terminator” he helped to bring respect back to the Indians organization. After one of the best seasons as a rookie pitcher, Vaughn struggled in 1990 when he tried to “reinvent himself” by trying to improve on his secondary pitches and cleaning up his “bad boy attitude” It was a roller coaster season that led to Vaughn being demoted to the bullpen after a drop in velocity and sub par secondary pitches. However, in the Playoffs Vaughn found his velocity and attitude to once again become a force in the World Series. However, Jim Taylor decided to keep Vaughn in the bullpen, a decision he openly admits was a mistake, as the Indians would lose game seven while Vaughn, now the closer, never got into the game. The next two seasons Vaughn would win 20 and 21 games and helped the Indians to two more World Series appearances. But After the third consecutive World Series loss, Vaughn’s career would take a sharp down turn. On the way to the 1993 Spring Training, Vaughn crashed his Harley while doing a 120 MPH on the freeway. The accident caused severe head trauma and tore his rotator cuff. After rehabbing for a year and a half it looked like Vaughn would be able to join the Indians late in the 94 season, but the baseball strike that season brought that dream to an end. The late 90’s were not kind to Vaughn as he missed more time off the field with altercations, injuries, and
suspensions. These included bar fights off the field, failing drug tests, and suspended by the Indians for inappropriate “staff” relationships. After the 1999 season the Indians refused to resign Vaughn citing the off the field issues and a severe drop in velocity. With no other teams offering him a contract, Vaughn did what every washed up ball players does, head to the broadcast booth. This turned into a disaster when his constant swearing lead to a disagreement with Joe Buck. Vaughn would punch him live on TV in the face for “not shutting up” according to Vaughn. The Wild Thing has remained true to his namesake in the first decade of the twentieth century. With three different arrests including one for driving his Harley across the field during an Indians game, wearing only his sunglasses and a pair of underwear. After a second stint in rehab it looked like Vaughn was on the right track. But just as mysteriously as he arrived in the big leagues, he vanished. No one knows where Vaughn is these days, but he maintains a twitter account with over five million followers. It seems that Vaughn has been traveling around the country on his Harley occasionally posting a bizarre tweet or picture, just like last week when he posted a picture of himself giving a McDonald’s employee a wedgie. The reason? Apparently he wouldn’t give Vaughn a free meal for being a “celebrity”. Wherever he is one thing is for sure, he will always be the bad boy of baseball. “Wild Thing” you made baseball interesting.