WWE Hall of Famer Macho Man Randy Savage played in Minors for Reds, Cardinals
On Monday's episode of RAW, the WWE announced that Macho Man Randy Savage would be inducted into its Hall of Fame with the Class of 2015. Savage -- who died of a heart attack in 2011 -- was a two-time WWE Champion and four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion whose influence reached far beyond the confines of the squared circle thanks to his passionate promos, Slim Jim commercials and a cameo in the first Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire.
But before Macho Man became known for his flying elbow drop and affinity for cylindrical dried meat, he was just Randy Poffo, a small-town kid from Illinois trying to make it in the bigs.
Poffo signed a Minor League contract with the Cardinals straight out of high school. Over the course of four seasons in the Cardinals and Reds organizations, Macho Man accumulated a .254 average and .976 fielding percentage, never advancing above Class A ball.
Signed as a natural catcher, Poffo spent most of those four seasons patrolling the outfield while moonlighting as a backstop and first baseman. Poffo suffered a separated shoulder in a collision at home plate during the '73 campaign and eventually taught himself to throw left-handed. Ya know, just in case.
In the offseason between the 1973 and 1974 seasons, Poffo debuted as "The Spider," wrestling in Georgia and Florida with some help from his father, a professional wrestler himself. A year later, Poffo decided to pursue wrestling full-time. That probably turned out to be the right move as he eventually adopted the nickname "Macho Man" and got a shot at AWA Southern champ Jerry Lawler.
In 1985, he made his World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) debut. He'd go on to hold multiple titles, win a King of the Ring tournament, rise to prominence in the tag team ranks by forming the MegaPowers with superstar Hulk Hogan and later carry out a dramatic feud with Hogan when the MegaPowers dissolved.
Though his professional wrestling career turned out to be one of the greatest ever achieved, a deeper statistical analysis of his time in the Minors indicates that Poffo might have had a shot at an MLB career if he'd only gotten a couple of breaks. I guess we'll never know.