Hey Joe

Some of us remember Joe Charboneau the outfielder and DH, half-Rocky Colavito, half-Paul Bunyan. Others remember Joe Charboneau, symbol of Cleveland’s eternal hope and inescapable doom. (Would even Philadelphia fans feel this negative?) Others just remember Joe Charboneau, the trivia answer.

What few remember is that Joe Charboneau was originally a Phillie.

The Phillies drafted Charboneau after his second year at West Valley Junior College in Saratoga, Calif. and sent him to Spartanburg in the Western Carolina League, where he batted .298 as a part-time player…Then, in February, the Phillies sent him a new contract and Charboneau was so happy he just went to his room for a while and held a bat in his hand. He spent that season close to home in Visalia and set a California League record with a .350 average while driving in 116 runs. At the winter meetings that year the Phillies in their infinite wisdom decided to trade Charboneau to Cleveland for Pitcher Cardell Camper, whom they then released.

Sadly, back surgery ended his career at 27, so Charboneau never became one of a holy trinity of 80s prospects the Phillies were burned by trading (Ryne Sandberg, who with Larry Bowa lost the Phils 328.9 win shares) or exposing in the Rule 5 draft (George Bell, who would become yet another example of the Phils’ Wrong Brother Syndrome ). Meaning not only Indians fans but Phillies fans can ask, what could have been?

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