20 Years Ago Today, Randall Simon Whacked a Sausage

Randall Simon of the Philadelphia Phillies did not bring down this bat on any costumed meats...that we know of.
Randall Simon of the Philadelphia Phillies did not bring down this bat on any costumed meats...that we know of. / Al Bello/GettyImages

Any Philadelphia Phillies fan worth their salt can tell you that Randall Simon appeared in 23 games for the Phillies in 2006, the final stop of his MLB career. That's just basic information, right?

Ok, maybe not, but Simon's Phillies connection does give us an excuse to talk about the "highlight" of his big league career — swinging a bat at and knocking down a person in a meat costume during the 'sausage race' at a Pirates/Brewers game 20 years ago today. Sports are crazy, man.

But before we talk about that ridiculousness, let's remember Simon's career in total. Hailing from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao, most notable for producing big leaguers like Andruw Jones and Ozzie Albies, Simon was signed as a teenager by the Atlanta Braves and began working his way up through their system in 1993. His MLB debut came in 1997 shortly after his 22nd birthday, and Simon was on the shuttle between the big club and AAA over the next couple seasons.

During the offseason between the 1999 and 2000 seasons, Braves pitcher John Rocker made a number of horrendous comments that landed him a suspension, with Simon the alleged subject of some of them. Anything further is just supposition, but Simon was cut by the Braves at the tail end of spring training, and he would spend all of 2000 in the minors, split between the Marlins' and Yankees' organizations. Rocker, for what it's worth, returned to a thunderous ovation at Turner Field once his suspension was lifted.

Simon fortunately returned to the majors in 2001, performing well with the Detroit Tigers for half the season. This earned him an everyday gig for 2002, and he delivered 19 home runs and 82 RBI while playing in 130 games. Simon was on the move again that offseason, traded to Pittsburgh, and that's where we'll get back to the incident that we all want to talk about.

It's a typical game between the Pirates and Brewers at Miller Park on July 9, 2003, when the normally light-hearted sausage race takes a dark turn after the Italian sausage stumbles and falls near the Pirates' dugout. It's immediately clear that foul play was involved, and replays show Randall Simon on the top step of the dugout taking a half-swing at the right shoulder area of the sausage. Simon ended up being arrested for misdemeanor battery, and he was fined and suspended for three games. Thankfully, that was the end of it, with the young lady in the costume not suffering any serious injury and looking back on it very positively years later. Simon was vilified for his behavior, but it ultimately ended up being just a momentary miscue. He issued a full apology and sent the 'victim' the bat from the 'incident', which he autographed.

Simon was traded to the Cubs about a month later, and when the team played in Milwaukee his new teammates jokingly restrained him on the bench when the sausage race went off, according to reports. Before the 2004 season, Simon signed again with Pittsburgh, and he also played a few games with Tampa later that season after being released. Kicking around the minors and foreign countries for almost two years after that, Simon found himself purchased by the Phillies and called up in September of 2006.

Randall Simon's Phillies career was brief, but it was a pretty unique one. He was with the team for the final month of that 2006 season, but he never started any games. Instead, he pinch hit 23 times, which has to be some kind of MLB record for a single month. He went 5 for 21 (all singles) with a pair of walks, knocking in two runs. Of the seven occasions where he reached base, he was replaced by a pinch runner five of those times, twice by Joe Thurston and once each by Carlos Ruiz, Michael Bourn, and Chris Roberson. Randall Simon's entire Phillies career was a triangle between the dugout, home plate, and first base. He never advanced on the basepaths or played the field as a Phil.

His brief sojourn in Philadelphia marked the end of Randall Simon's MLB career. He moved around between Mexico, the minors, and Venezuela for a few years, hanging up his spikes in 2011. It's not really clear what he's up to these days, but here's his LinkedIn profile, if you want to connect. Credit to him for carving out a major league career, but of course he'll always be most remembered for assaulting a sausage 20 years ago today. They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, so Simon has managed to stick in the collective consciousness more than other players whose careers were much better or longer. We'll always have Milwaukee, Randall. And I hope we can all relish the legacy that was created on July 9, 2003.