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PHOTO: Minor league baseball team bring alligator to field for luck

  • David Whitlock

What do an alligator, the California Baseball League, 1978, and Joe Charboneau have in common?  Maybe you should ask the alligator, who was on-hand as a special guest for the Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks) vs. Lancaster JetHawks (Astros) Advanced-A playoff game Friday night (via @DonnyBaarns)

According to Yahoo! Sports Big League Stew Mark Townsend, it all makes sense (?)

Visalia — the current Class A Advanced affliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks —has not won the California League championship since 1978 when former American League Rookie of the Year Joe Charboneau was on the team. During that season Charboneau acquired a pet alligator named Chopper, which lived in his bathtub until he returned home for the offseason. Unfortunately, Chopper died later that year while under the watch of a teammate, and for reasons we’re not sure can be explained, Chopper’s spirit is now viewed as the force behind their misfortune.

The promotion didn’t seem to work as Lancaster evened the series at 1-1 with a 3-0 victory. The alligator must have ate all the Rawhides bats.

I’ve heard of Billy Goat curses, the Curse of the Bambino, but have never heard of the Chopper Curse.  I guess those in Visalia have been living it for 35 years!

– David Whitlock

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David Whitlock

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David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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