February 01, 2012
Pete "Zombie" Daley
Pete Daley, 1959 Topps
In 1949, Pete Daley died.
(Or he "pied." For the purposes of this entire post, let's go with died.) Normally, death is a difficult thing to come back from, but through a rigorous rehab program and also because he was a zombie—he died when he was bitten by a zombie, did I mention that? I should have mentioned that—he resurfaced, quite literally, in the Haitian Winter League. What follows is a short account of Daley’s fascinating post-life journey …
1955, Haitian Winter League game, sixth inning. Earth rumbles near shortstop, Daley emerges from ground in zombie form, dusts himself off.
Haitian player: (In Haitian) What the ffff …
Umpire: (In Haitian) Time out!
Daley: Put me in coach, me ready to play, clap, clap-clap, today.
Don Zimmer: (Playing in Haitian Winter League in order to stay away from family) Hey, what gives, pal? We’re in the middle of a game over here!
Daley: Where is me? This not look like America.
Zimmer: This is Haiti, you monster-looking fool!
Daley: Pfft. Me hatey Haiti, zombie joke. Walks over to catcher, picks him up by throat, tosses him over outfield fence. Me catch now, not him. Single switch. PITCH BALL NOW.
Daley does not have a glove; every pitch hits him directly in the face. Inning ends. Daley stand ups, rips off arm of previous batter to use as bat, leads off next inning, lines first pitch down left field line, kills third baseman.
Daley: Turns to umpire. Kill man equals 10 home runs, zombie rules. We win. New stance. Big difference is me dead now, pull ball; used to be alive, strike out. Eats umpire’s brain.
But winter turned to spring in Haiti, and Pete Daley longed to return to his beloved Red Sox teammates. Also, he had eaten everyone in the Haitian Winter League and most games did not last through two innings without devolving into chaos. He decided to head back to Boston. He walked, due to his fear of airplanes. It took him three years.
Boston, April, 1958, batting practice
Daley: Walks into Fenway, naked, grunting.
Vic Wertz: Mother of … Pete, is that you? I thought you were dead!
Daley: Not dead. Undead.
Wertz: You look a little pale. And what happened to your penis?
Daley: Fell off in Tallahassee. What happened to your brain?
Daley: Eats Vic Wertz’s brain.
Pumpsie Green: Well I’ll be a son of gun. If it ain’t ol’ Pete Daley. Thought you kicked the bucket a decade ago. Can’t hold a good man down, I guess. Here, put on some clothes. Tosses him a uniform.
Daley: Puts on uniform, takes spikes, throws them, impales groundskeeper in back.
Green: Hey Skip, Daley’s back. Ain’t dead after all. Got a spot for ‘em?
Pinky Higgins, mngr: Never thought I’d see the day. Promised McCarthy at Daley’s funeral that if he ever came back as an undead, I’d make room for ‘em. But that’s one too many catchers. JOHNSON! Git over here …
Johnson: What’s up, skip? Looks at Daley. Holy sh*t, man. You hit the moonshine too hard last night or somethin’?
Higgins: Johnson, listen—I know you worked real hard this winter—
Daley: Less talk, more action. Eats Johnson’s brain.
Higgins: Well, that was easy. Sully, git over here and give ol’ Pete Daley a refresher course on catching, will ya’? He looks a little stiff on account of the deadness and what not.
Haywood Sullivan: Sure thing, skip. How ya’ doin’, Pete?
Daley: Pretty good. For a Monday.
Sully: You remember how to catch?
Daley: Like this? Squats down, defecates self, tips over.
Sully: Almost. Here, let me show you. First you need a glove. Here. Now bend down, using your legs, not your back, and hold your glove out to receive the pitch.
Daley: Eats glove.
Sully: Don’t eat the glove. Here. Try again.
Sully: Okay, that’s better. Just try and move that leg in a little so you’re in a full squat.
Sully: Alright, whatever. Try not to stare blankly into nothingness or else the pitcher is going to feel weird.
Daley: Pitchers is stupid.
Sully: See, that’s the kind of attitude that’s gonna leave you third on the depth chart. Try pounding your glove a little bit, and say something reassuring, like, “Throw it heeeyaaaa, pitch! Lemme see that heat!”
Daley: Throws up. Mouse emerges from barf and scurries away.
Sully: Okay, I think that’s enough for today.
Pete Daley played two more years in the big leagues before settling into a zombie retirement community in Pensacola, Florida, where he still unlives today. On the third Saturday night of each month, he tells zombie jokes at the Pensacola Community Center.
Back card art and concept by Punk Rock Paint, words by Mike Kenny.