T.R.'s Memoirs: Kenny Rogers is in the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. His career was a long, at times messy, drama (Part III).
The left-hander's frustrations boil over as he shoves two cameramen, angering the commissioner and paving his way out of town.
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Editor’s note: T.R. Sullivan covered the Texas Rangers over 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.com and is sharing his “memoirs” with this newsletter. This is the last of three parts on Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers and the events that led up to his assaulting two television cameramen in 2005.
Kenny Rogers did not like what Simon Gonzalez wrote in the Star-Telegram on May 8, 1994, after a 9-7 loss to the Twins.
Rogers had started Saturday despite a bruised left hand, an injury that was self-inflicted. In his previous start, Rogers had punched the mound after giving up a home run to Cecil Fielder.
There was a question if Rogers would start against the Twins because of the injury but, he tried to pitch through it. He allowed six runs in 6 2/3 innings and was the losing pitcher.
So, Gonzalez wrote, “Maybe Kenny Rogers should have punched the ground harder at Tiger Stadium.”
Gonzalez also suggested Rogers made a bad decision in deciding to pitch through the injury.
The next day, the Rangers lost to the Twins, 5-2, with Kevin Brown on the mound. Gonzalez was standing with a group of reporters waiting for Brown when Rogers made his move.
He pushed Gonzalez. And kept pushing him until he pushed Gonzalez out of the clubhouse. Then a security guard barred Gonzalez from going back into the clubhouse.
Rogers was slapped on the wrist by the Rangers and forced to apologize to Gonzalez. The $5,000 fine went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
I bring this up for one reason.
What happened on June 29, 2005 — yes, 11 years later — was not a one-time incident for Rogers.