In March 1986, trying to make the Oakland A’s roster, Mike Hargrove confessed that his act as the “human rain delay” had worn out. His ritual before stepping into the batter’s box included this: adjust the batting glove, hitch up the pants, knock dirt off the cleats, adjust the cap, back to the batting glove . . .
Hargrove said: “I’ve tried to eliminate as much as possible. It used to be a distraction to everybody else. Eventually, it became a distraction to me.
“Because I never stopped hearing about it. The league was concerned, the fans were screaming, the press was all over me. I just got tired of it. Hey, I wasn’t trying to get people angry. For years, it made me concentrate, made me a better hitter. But I don’t need it now.”
After being cut that spring, thus ending the act completely, Hargrove spent very little time on the sidelines. On May 29, 1986, United Press International reported:
Former major league first baseman Mike Hargrove has been named a coach with Cleveland affiliate Batavia, N.Y., of the New York-Penn League, the Indians announced Wednesday.
Hargrove, 36, batted .291 with 80 homers and 686 RBI in 12 years with Texas, San Diego and Cleveland. He was released by the Indians after last season and did not make the final A’s roster during spring training this year.
Hargrove, the 527th overall selection in the 1972 draft, rose from obscurity to become the American League rookie of the year in 1974, when he batted .323 with 12 homers and 82 RBI.
In seven years with Cleveland, Hargrove batted .292 with 33 homers and 383 RBI in 888 games. He holds the Indians’ all- time record for walks in a season with 111 in 1980.