Enrique Romo: an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in a Pirates uniform. I can’t decide who’s the single greatest person in the history of mankind—Romo or the guy who took this photo. If I took this photo, I’d get a gigantic blowup of this and make it the front of my fridge, or, if I had kids, I’d make it into back-of-door posters. Or, if it was Halloween, I’d back the posters with particle board and fill my lawn with them.
Romo’s hair is beyond awesome. Couple it with his picket-fence teeth, it’s no wonder he went 20-4 with the 1976 Mexico Red Devils (and also, it’s awesome that the 1982 Fleer set had Mexican League stats, though lame that they changed the name of the ‘Red Devils’ to just the ‘Reds’—unless I’m reading a little too much into these stats). He tore it up for six seasons, all leading up to his magnificent ’76 season: 20 wins, ERA under 2, 19 complete games, 239 strikeouts to 56 walks…this guy had a Pedro Martinez season and then he jumped ship to Seattle and granted, he put up some decent numbers coming out of the pen, but imagine if you’re a nobody on the San Luis Tuna Men and you dig into the box against this guy—you’re just praying your family didn’t come to the game that night. So why did he ever jump to the majors?
Plus, what’s going on with his middle finger on his glove hand? And why is the frame off-balance? I bet on days when he wasn’t pitching he would put beads in his hair and practice martial arts or tai chi in a park somewhere. I bet he was the guy who taught Captain Lou Albano how to stick rubber bands to his face. If any ballplayer ever deserved, really deserved to get ‘Thug life’ tattooed across his stomach as a present from his team (or at least had it written out in greasepaint or magic marker by a roomful of kindergarteners as a publicity stunt), it was Enrique Romo.