Reliever Estevez relishes 'Wild' similarity with Sheen
DENVER -- At a young age, Rockies right-handed relief pitcher Carlos Estévez understood the baseball comedy behind his name. He had no idea that a more-famous name-fellow understood, also. It would lead to a special day earlier this season.
Anyone who takes baseball with a laugh is familiar with the 1989 movie "Major League," and with one of the flick's scene-stealers -- visually and strike-zone challenged relief pitcher Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn, played by actor Charlie Sheen. And it takes little effort to learn that Sheen's birth name is …
Yes, Carlos Estevez.
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In the movie, the Indians went on a bizarre championship run with Vaughn as their closer. Turning the character's mascot-plunking wildness into a plus, the team celebrated his entrance by blaring a version of the 1960s hit, "Wild Thing."
The movie has become such a cult classic that some fans wanted Sheen to throw out the first pitch in Cleveland at Tuesday night's World Series opener with the Cubs. The Indians found 1995 stars Kenny Lofton and Carlos Baerga, who appeared in the actual World Series in 1995, to be fitting honorees.
Anyhow, the movie was not lost on the Rockies' Estevez, who grew up loving baseball in the Dominican Republic and enjoyed his odd connection to the actor.
"I knew about Charlie Sheen in Rookie ball," said Estevez, who played at that level in 2013. "I was always joking about it in the Minors, like, 'When I get to the big leagues, I'm going to play "Wild Thing."' But that was a joke."
Little did he know his career had seriously grabbed the attention of a true baseball fan: Sheen.
While Estevez was working his way through the Minors and eventually hitting 100 mph with his fastball, Sheen would peek at his Minor League stats.
Estevez made his Major League debut April 23. It was only natural that he enter games to "Wild Thing," but he nearly blew the opportunity.
"When I got here, I forgot to give them my song to play," Estevez said. "Then the first time I came out, they were playing 'Wild Thing.' I'm coming out for my debut going, 'Oh, this is funny.' I was a little bit nervous, but I heard the song, started laughing, took a deep breath and said, 'Now, let's go.'
"I was going to change it, and the guys like Boone Logan were like, 'Dude, you've got to stick to it. You've got the same name.'"
It all led to an eventful series at Dodger Stadium June 6-8. Estevez appeared twice. He took a loss, 4-3, on June 7, when Trayce Thompson homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but he struck out three in the eighth inning of a 1-0 Rockies victory the next night.
Away from the park came another milestone activity.
Sheen, through then-Rockies first-base coach Eric Young, invited Estevez to his Malibu, Calif., home for lunch.
"It was really cool," Estevez said. "We just got to know each other. He asked me about my last name, where it was from. He told me where his last name was from, too. We got to talk about how weird it was that we had the same name, and how cool it was at the same time, because of the Major League movie."
It gave Sheen a chance to smile about his own playing days. He was a shortstop and pitcher at Santa Monica (Calif.) High School.
"I saw some videos of him hitting," Estevez said. "He's good. He showed them to me. I was like, 'For real? You can hit.'"
Estevez left the visit with a smile -- and the actor's blessing for the theme song.
"It's fun," Estevez said. "The fans, all of them, they know the song. They enjoy the song when I come out, so it's fine. And I've met Charlie Sheen, so I can stick to it."