In a Spring that is full of unusual and painful injuries, I'm left thinking about Bret Barberie, one of the less illustrious O's of the mid-Nineties. When Bret was still with the Florida Marlins, he was slicing chili peppers one afternoon. Immediately after doing so, he attempted to insert his contact lenses...before washing the chili juice off of his hands. The resulting burning sensation caused him to miss a game. As someone who's worn contact lenses for twelve years, it absolutely baffles me to think that anyone could make this mistake. Then again, there's a lot about Bret Barberie that baffles me.
Bret was a hot prospect with the Expos in the early Nineties, but had a hard time breaking into a strong young infield that included Sean Berry, Wil Cordero, and Delino DeShields. Montreal left him exposed in the 1992 Expansion Draft, and the Marlins grabbed him with the sixth pick. He had two decent seasons in Florida (.277 and .301), but didn't hit for much power, so Florida swapped him to the Birds for former #1 draft pick Jay Powell. Barberie had a miserable season in Baltimore, hitting .241 with sixteen extra-base hits and losing his job at midseason to the even-worse Manny Alexander. The O's let him walk as a free agent, and his career bottomed out with the Cubs. He had only one hit (a home run) in 29 at-bats before spending the rest of the 1996 season at AAA Iowa. He would sit out all of 1997 before spending the 1998 season at the Rangers' AAA affiliate in Oklahoma City. He bounced back, hitting .305 with 36 doubles, but never got the call to join the major league club. His career ended at age 30.
But people will always remember him for setting his eyes on fire, which is something at least.