McDonald hooks a 'gator

February 27, 1991|By Peter Schmuck

SARASOTA, Fla. -- It is not difficult to separate truth from fiction when it concerns Baltimore Orioles right-hander Ben McDonald. Here's a rule of thumb: The more it sounds like fiction, the more likely it is to be true.

So, when a report surfaced that there was an alligator in the clubhouse, everyone laughed nervously and looked around for the only guy who would have the nerve to get close to one. Sure enough, McDonald had found a friend and brought him along to work.

"I caught it on a fishing line and brought it to the clubhouse in a duffel bag," McDonald said. "I was fishing right at dark [Monday night] and I hooked it accidentally. Then the fight was on."

The alligator measured about 30 inches long, but McDonald claimed it was followed out of the water by a much bigger one ("Musta been its mama," McDonald said. "I had to run up the hill to get away.") He kept it in the trunk of his car overnight and brought it to the ballpark, where he used it to startle a few teammates before releasing it in one of the ponds at Twin Lakes Park.

"It was just a little, itty-bitty thing," McDonald said. "It wasn't big enough to hurt anybody."

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