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The Dominican Jim Bunning

Dec 23, 2009, 8:30 AM EDT

And here I thought Raul Mondesi disappeared from the face of the Earth after putting in 155 atrocious plate appearances for the Braves in 2005:

When Raul Mondesi left baseball after 13 seasons as a major league
outfielder, he returned to his dusty, overcrowded and impoverished
hometown determined to make a difference.

And both of the
Dominican Republic’s main political parties were only too happy to
assist, with one helping him twice win election to the country’s
national Chamber of Deputies and another luring him away to run for
mayor of the country’s sixth-largest city.

He’s not alone. According to Baxter, Juan Encarnacion, Melido Perez and Jose Rijo all hold office in the Dominican Republic as well.

Sadly, it seems that Mondesi is something of an empty vessel politically, with those quoted in the article questioning his intellect and grasp of the issues and noting that he has never sponsored any substantive legislation. Basically, his political career is based almost purely on name recognition and fame as a local-born ballplayer.

Glad that doesn’t happen as often here. If it did, I’m pretty sure it would mean that Paul O’Neill or Pat Borders would be the mayor of my town, and I don’t like either of those dudes.

  1. ditmars1929 - Dec 23, 2009 at 8:41 AM

    Just curious, what’s your problem with O’Neill, Craig?

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 23, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    Oh, it’s not some deep hatred or anything. Fine player and all. I’ve just never been a fan of players who go back to the dugout cussing and slamming crap around when they strikeout or whatever. Maybe that’s part of what made O’Neill the player he was, but I’ve always rolled my eyes at the football-player-trapped-in-a-baseball-player’s-body types.

  3. ditmars1929 - Dec 23, 2009 at 9:07 AM

    Ah, the cursing and water cooler abuse. I get that. I didn’t like that either.
    However, as a New Yorker and rabid Yankee fan, I’ll tell you why O’Neill is so loved up here.
    Roberto Kelly was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle, heir to JoeD, etc. Yes, I know all Yankee outfielders are over-hyped like that. But Kelly had lots of promise. When they traded Kelly to the Reds for O’Neill, all Yankee fans had the reaction of “We just got rid of the next Mantle, who the f— is Paul O’Neill?” Then O’Neill goes on to be a .300 hitter, a clutch hitter, and an excellent defender. He also doubled his average against left-handed pitching. We loved him for that.
    Also, when he was up for free agency and could have easily squeezed the Yankees for more money while the fans would have been very sorry to see him go, he stood pat and said (this is a direct quote), “I earn a lot of money playing for the Yankees, and an extra few million isn’t going to change my standard of living.”
    That’s class and appreciation for the home team fans, which erases his water cooler abuse.
    So we love the guy.

  4. Old Gator - Dec 23, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    That’s funny. It reminds me of Lyndon Johnson throwing that tantrum in the back seat of his limousine in The Right Stuff.
    I don’t remember the details, but I know that Curt Schilling tested the waters with a poll in Massachusetts to see how he’d do if he ran for some office – senate, congress? Whatever. I hear he was shocked to discover that the state that sent the Kennedys to Washington, OKd gay marriage, and went for McGovern wasn’t eager to elect a fundamentalist-neofascist blowhard to national office despite his fortitude in the postseason. Name recognition will take you only so far, I guess.

  5. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 23, 2009 at 9:27 AM

    Curt Schilling approves this message.
    /Paid for by the STFU Curt Schilling party

  6. RJK - Dec 23, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    Not a big fan of O’Neill either, though we did manage to elect his ex-sister-in-law to be a judge, largely on the basis of name recognition. Stunningly, she turned out to be the worst judge around, ultimately losing her license. See also, Heath Shuler, JC Watts, etc.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM

    You a Franklin County shyster, RJK? I have such fond memories of practicing in Deb O’Neill’s courtroom! It’s not often you have to explain the basic rudiments of civil procedure to a sitting judge, but to her credit she listened to everything I had to say before she ignored the law and ruled against my client based on nakedly obvious political considerations!

  8. TrampsLikeUs - Dec 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    whaddya mean? Al Franken and that Ahhhnold guy turned out ok, right? And that wrestler, Jesse Vitnor or something or other. Albert Belle for senator!

  9. Tony A - Dec 23, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    But that’s the beauty of NATIONAL name recognition. Someone like Schilling can always move to a place that will support a candidate like him, and run there. (see “Floridian” Jeb Bush)

  10. BC - Dec 23, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    Hey, it could be worse. If we were talking about my town, I’d be stuck with Mayor Bobby Valentine. I think I’d move to Iceland or something.

  11. BC - Dec 23, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    …And don’t forget the guy that played “Cooter” on Dukes of Hazzard…

  12. Jason - Dec 23, 2009 at 12:09 PM

    Juan Encarnacion is not in politics… he works with his charity. Article from a few months back:
    http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/bird-land/bird-land/2009/08/encarnacion-works-on-charity-not-politics/
    I know it’s not your mistake (you said Baxter reported it)… just wanted to find an update on his eye and found that.

  13. BC - Dec 23, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Cooter information, for those of you playing at home:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_L._Jones

  14. Old Gator - Dec 23, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    Ah yes, our drooling imbecile of a blessedly ex-president’s slack-jawed, beady-eyed smarter younger brother. Tell me all about him. We watched our kids’ school system shrink like the brain of a woman in a controversial protracted vegetal state. Speaking of which, I think my favorite Jeb story has got to be the time that he looked at a film of a woman whose brain had turned into a stagnant pond that had even killed the snapping turtles and declared her “semi-conscious.” Then again, I suppose if you grew up with W as a brother, your criteria for “consciousness” would be more capacious than most.
    Oh, and and speaking of Florida and Cooters, try this link too: http://www.uga.edu/srelherp/turtles/pseflo.htm

  15. Charley Behanna - Jan 2, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

  16. Michel Roner - Feb 10, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Very interesting… thanks.

  17. Rusty Boddy - Feb 18, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    It’s funny that you in spite of everything spoke up! I have been waiting for someone to bring this out to the open! Anyway… nice post. I will be back.

  18. Donnie Czepiel - Feb 19, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    I will publish this on my site. Is there a complete Spanish Version of this Article? You are doing great work! Best Regards.

  19. Corey Lungstrom - Feb 20, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    Great info. I’m teaching this topic to faculty soon, but we now have Acrobat 9. Do you plan to update this quick reference card for Acrobat 9?

  20. DixieAnderson34 - May 15, 2010 at 5:18 AM

    I would like to propose not to hold back until you get big sum of cash to buy different goods! You should just get the personal loans or just secured loan and feel yourself fine

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