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Tragic Tale Casts New Light On Infamous Dawson Beaning

If you're looking for a fascinating, if tragic, tale from the annals of baseball history, look no further than ESPN writer Tom Friend's profile of Eric Show, a talented right-handed pitcher who threw for the San Diego Padres in the 1980s. Show was, in the immortal words of Tom Petty, "a complex cat," who grew up under the watchful eye and quick hand of an abusive father, often seemed to favor playing guitar over playing baseball, and fought a losing battle against illegal stimulants.

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Of particular interest to fans of the Chicago Cubs is a detailed account of Show's infamous beaning of right fielder Andre Dawson in a 1987 game. (To catch a glimpse of the incident, jump to the 1:00 mark in this YouTube clip.) Show's errant high heat touched off a two-stage on-field scrum and he was, thereafter, villainized by Cubs fans.

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The respective destinies of both men -- one a Hall of Famer, the other the lead character in a cautionary tale of eccentricity and drug abuse -- only serve to further illustrate the thin line between glory and shame in professional sports.