While researching an upcoming 1965 Topps Project post about ex-Athletics pitcher Aurelio Monteagudo, I was reminded of a chilling bit of trivia (previously mentioned on some of my favorite card blogs). There have been three players with the first name "Aurelio" in major league history, and all three have been killed in car accidents between the ages of 44 and 52.
Monteagudo was a second-generation big leaguer from Cuba who gained Venezuelan citizenship after Castro rose to power. He relied on a screwball and pitched mostly in relief in parts of seven seasons (1963-1967, 1970, 1973), but played practically year-round in various countries for two decades. He compiled a 3.37 ERA in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. In the Mexican League, he was tops in strikeouts in 1978 and tossed a no-hitter in 1979. In 1990, he was killed in a car accident in Mexico at age 46.
Aurelio Lopez was a hard-throwing reliever from Mexico who became known as "Senor Smoke" while with the Tigers. He won ten or more games thrice during his years in Motown, saved 85 games, was selected to one All-Star Game, and pitched to a 3.41 ERA. He was a major leaguer for 11 years (1974 and 1978-1987). In 1992, he was in a fatal accident in his native country in which his car overturned and he was ejected from the vehicle. It was September 22 - one day after his 44th birthday.
Aurelio Rodriguez, like Lopez, was a Mexican native who enjoyed his greatest success with the Tigers (both are also in the Salon de Fama, the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame). His major league career spanned three decades (1967-1983). He became renowned for his strong throwing arm, winning a Gold Glove at third base in 1976 to break Brooks Robinson's 16-year stranglehold on the award. Aurelio also had a dubious honor among card collectors: his 1969 Topps rookie card does not feature his photo, but rather a portrait of Angels batboy Leonard Garcia. The third baseman came to Baltimore in the final season of his MLB career, largely as a bench player. He managed only eight hits in 67 at-bats and was released in August, at which point he finished his career with the White Sox. On September 23, 2000 (one day after the eighth anniversary of Lopez's death), Rodriguez was visiting Detroit. At 2:00 PM, he and an unidentified woman were walking on the city's Southwest side when a car jumped the curb and ran over him. The driver had already been ordered not to drive and had her license suspended due to a previous brain anuerysm. Aurelio had to be pulled out from underneath the car and was pronounced dead at Henry Ford Hospital. He was 52 years old. The motorist was charged with felony manslaughter but received probation.
Sorry to be such a downer, but it's a gloomy overcast day and this piqued a morbid part of my brain.