The Braves’ Prado gets dizzy, and I think, “Esasky”

Esteemed colleague Dave O’Brien reports Martin Prado is returning to Atlanta to see what’s causing his headaches and dizzy spells, and if you’re a student of Braves’ history you’re concerned. You’re concerned because of two words:

Nick Esasky.

You young folks won’t remember the name, and you old-timers might have forgotten it. Because Nick Esasky wasn’t a Brave long. He played nine games in 1990.  Then he developed vertigo. He never played another game.

This came at a time when nothing had gone right for the Braves for so long you figured this was simply par for the overgrown course. The team hadn’t had a winning season since 1983 and had pretty much sworn off any big offseason moves after Bobby Cox — then the general manager — got burned in the Steve Bedrosian swap of December 1985. (On cue, Bedrosian won the 1987 Cy Young Award as a Phil.)

But in November 1989 the Braves gathered their courage and their money and signed Esasky, who grew up in Marietta and who was coming off a big season (30 homers, 108 RBIs) for the Red Sox, to a three-year contract worth $5.6 million. (Serious money back then.) He played nine games.

The Braves’ signing of Esasky as a free agent was such news that an AJC guy wrote a column — it happened on a Friday — for the Saturday paper. And the next day the guy was doing the pregame show with Loran Smith in Athens when the Georgia head coach broke in. “I thought Georgia-Auburn was a pretty big deal,” Ray Goff said, “but I see where Mark Bradley wrote about baseball this morning.” (FYI, Goff’s team lost to the Tigers 20-3.)

Nick Esasky got vertigo, retired and dropped from sight. The last I heard — and this was a long time ago — was that he’d taken up bodybuilding. (Reader Count Von Count turned up this 2006 link from Erin Moriarty of the Atlanta Business Journal, who reported Esasky, living in Alpharetta, had set up a foundation to help kids fight meth abuse; he’d had a daughter who’d gone into rehab.) He was also a nice guy who, as I recall from a conversation we had when I worked in Lexington and he was a Reds rookie, was the son of an airline mechanic.

He came home to be a Brave, and he became just another footnote of that weird time in Braves’ annals where everything turned to sludge. (Remember Alex Trevino? Ozzie Virgil, who was traded for Bedrosian? Jody Davis? Ernie Whitt? And those were just the catchers.) Let’s hope for better things for Martin Prado, who had become one of the feel-good stories of a feel-better season.

114 comments Add your comment

Rooferdawg

August 19th, 2009
5:42 am

You forgot to add, that during the last year of his contract (and some time in the minors), he thought he was well enough to play the following year. The Braves made him offer and he turned it down, saying it was not enough money. This after he had accepted money for 3 years of sitting on the bench! He signed with some other team,, and then retired. I do not have fond memories of Nick!

Elliot Garcia

August 19th, 2009
6:04 am

Actually, he is now a Wal Mart greeter on Hwy 92 in Woodstock….

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2009
6:19 am

More than Prado it reminds me of the McCann situation at the beginning of this season. With Nick, I think the Braves even tried a witch-doctor.

Maybe Obamacare would have worked for Nick.

Count Von Count

August 19th, 2009
6:36 am

Mark, new research tool out there called google, might want to implement that in your writing, anyways, it yieled this from 06
http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2006/02/13/story7.html

Skram30082

August 19th, 2009
6:44 am

Hey, Mark, you almost make it sound like he played 9 games and then retired almost immediately. But, if you go back and look at pictures that the AJC published, he is one of the Braves celebrating winning the division crown in 1991 (on the last day of the season), so he was on the team at that time. At the time, I thought that was an ironic photo. He had done nothing to contribute to that crown, and even had a bit of an arrogant attitude when he got close to the end of his contract.

Mitch C

August 19th, 2009
6:51 am

Mark, please dont say Nick Esasky. That name gives me chills, and not in a good way. Also, medical knowledge is much more sophisticated now then it was nineteen years ago. Let’s hope that the Dr’s can help Prado.

Also, any comment on Smoltz signing with the Cardinals? Maybe you can’t, because it’s not “Official” yet. I thought that was an interesting move by La Russa and Company.

Mitch

Nativebird

August 19th, 2009
7:09 am

Let’s hope Martin has something minor that can be treated and done…he IS this team’s spark plug. As much as they have real fundamental other needs, they simply cannot lose this guy now, or any playoff shot (as small as it is) will be truly over.

Rod

August 19th, 2009
7:21 am

Nick Esasky got into bodybuilding?

Yeah, I can see him holding a few hundred pounds above his head and this his dizzyness kicks in. DEAD.

Not a good hobby for him.

Warren Peace

August 19th, 2009
7:33 am

Is that Wal-Mart in Woodstock the same one where Bill King got his hat?

Sam

August 19th, 2009
7:35 am

My only comment is that if Esasky hadn’t developed vertigo, Sid Bream would have never come to play for the Braves. I’d say it worked out ok for the Braves. Chop chop.

Rick

August 19th, 2009
7:41 am

Thanks, Count for the link to a story which tugs at my heart. If some of these other posters will read this maybe their sarcasm will dry up. But I am sure all of the folks poking fun at Esasky all made it to the major leagues. I never cease to be amazed at those who have not accomplished something making fun of those who have.

Me

August 19th, 2009
7:51 am

This is not exactly the same topic, but this column and this story (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/238841-he-played-for-the-atlanta-braves) have some similarities.
And I remember Esasky. It was the first time the Braves actually made a splash in the free agent market in my lifetime.
The next year they added Pendleton, Bream and Belliard and the rest is history.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
7:51 am

Thanks, Count. I’ve incorporated my link. You have a future as a researcher.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
7:52 am

And what do I think of Smoltz signing with the Cardinals? Good luck to both parties. I don’t think he has much left, but I’m usually wrong.

shadetree

August 19th, 2009
7:53 am

I had severe headaches and the doctors could not find anything.

One day I approached the doctor about quitting smoking (after 30 years) and he put me on wellbutrin. I have been smke and headache free ever since.

Why would Coxie leave Lowe in to give up all those runs. If it was KK or Medlin they would have been pulled way sooner. Come on Coxie quit giving some people the benifit and other not.

Coxie is really a bad strategist and coach.

Leave a guy in there like that. DA bum.

Elaine B.

August 19th, 2009
7:54 am

When Prado came out of the game again last night, I told my wife about the Esasky/vertigo episode. As the game spiraled out of control and Bobby continued to leave Lowe in there, I remember a Braves game I attended, I think in ‘93 against the Phillis with my then girlfriend. I got so frustrated with the Braves that I told my girlfriend we were leaving. She wasn’t happy with me, but the next morning I showed her a story written by a certain columnist who wrote about gathering up his work stuff and leaving the game early to the surprised look on his colleague’s faces. Ring a bell, Mark? I felt much the same last night as I did then.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:06 am

I wrote that? That’s one I do not remember. I don’t usually leave games early. (Though I once left a Braves-Red Sox game and the Braves scored like six runs in the bottom of the ninth off Tom Gordon, and I heard this stunning comeback in the drive-thru lane of Taco Bell.)

Mac

August 19th, 2009
8:06 am

I hope the rest of the season is not “One Crazy Summer”-esque. Jim Varney’s dead right?

Be-little, BeBOLD

August 19th, 2009
8:08 am

Left him in to get a ground ball???? Did he (Cox) not see the game? Ground ball after ground ball and runners crossing the plate with each one and he’s sitting in the dugout with his chin resting in his palm, asleep apparently!!! What a guy!!!

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:19 am

But not forgotten, Mac.

willsmith

August 19th, 2009
8:22 am

Mark, off topic a little bit, but what’s your take on Bobby’s (lack of) strategy last night? Wouldn’t surprise me if Lowe goes on the DL. It was apparent to everybody but his skipper that he wasn’t right…

curtis jones

August 19th, 2009
8:24 am

The Mona Lisa showed more emotion than Cox during the 4th inning. I thought he had gone the Ted Williams route, and was frozen. But seriously folks, Mark Bradley’s mention of Jody Davis also brought back bad memories. Like Esasky, Davis had been a Braves-killer with his former team (Esasky with the Reds, Davis with the Cubs). Plus he was a good ol’ GA boy. But man, did he stink it up with the Braves. I remember watching an NBC game in which Gary Carter would distract Jody while he was batting. Garagiola laughed his butt off, watching Carter engage in chit-chat with Jody, who would then swing and miss repeatedly. Carter was grinning from ear to ear. We sure knew how to pick ‘em.

GeoffDawg

August 19th, 2009
8:24 am

I was 14 in 1990 but I do remember Nick Esasky. I’d forgotten about that awesome mullett though.

SimpleDawg

August 19th, 2009
8:25 am

D-Low is beginning to look mighty old…..Bobby should start warming up the bullpen at the beginning of each inning he pitches. Because when Lowe goes bad, he goes bad quickly, and he doesn’t come back.

Esasky was a big free agent signning for the Braves back in the old days, and what a disaster it was….ranks right up there with Bruce Sutter and Len Barker.

I really thought the Braves were going to pull out the Wild card, but this collapse against the lowly Mutts certainly rains on that parade….I’m not feeling to good about that Kawakami vs. Santana match up either.

And….NO, we don’t need Smoltzie.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:26 am

It was weird, Will. No runs until the big inning. Then eight runs. I was surprised Cox left him in, but I’m sure he kept thinking one ground ball and they’re out of the inning. Instead they were out of the game.

I say again: That’s the toughest call for any manager. When do you pull your starting pitcher? And in Lowe’s case, there didn’t seem any sign he was struggling before the Mets started hitting him.

Ralph

August 19th, 2009
8:28 am

Where are all those Bobby Cox lovers today?

SimpleDawg

August 19th, 2009
8:28 am

Ooops, that should’ve been “too good”….I hate when I don’t proof read my posts before hitting “submit”. I look as careless as the AJC.

Mike Jay

August 19th, 2009
8:33 am

Weird. I thought about Esasky and the vertigo on the way into work today. I hope everything is ok wiht Prado, we need him to have achance a the wildcard.

Lowe seems to be feast or famine this year. So how is goign to bullpen when Hudson is ready? Kawakami, Huddy, Lowe???

Elaine B.

August 19th, 2009
8:35 am

Hey, that was me, not Elaine B., Mark. Gremlins must have gotten in the computer. I would have sworn you wrote that. It was an inning where the Braves were getting hit AND throwing the ball all over the field. I got up in frustration after a few runs had scored saying to my girlfriend, “They’re gonna score eight runs this inning” and went to wait by the concession stand till the carnage was over. She came out at the end of the inning and said, “Well, they didn’t score eight. They scored nine.” (I may not be remembering the numbers exactly, but it was close) I said “We’re leaving.” SOMEBODY the next day wrote that they left early also, which was viewed by his collegues with shock and disbelief, and I was vindicated. It was either’92 or ‘93, and it may or may not have been against the Phils. Still not clicking in at all? Does anybody else remember this? Am I having a flashback from a bad trip at Woodstock?

All I'm Saying Is...

August 19th, 2009
8:35 am

Count Von Count: Good one. Bradley you ought to be embarrassed: you don’t need a Researcher to type a man’s name into Google especially a name as unique as Nick Esasky

Also, Bradley, can you put your boring grudge with Smoltz aside for a second and think objectively for a moment? If so, you would realize that in recent years Smoltz was most successful as a late game reliever (has the bull headed mindset for it), that the NL is a less potent hitting league than the AL (see All Star game for evidence), and that his fastball still reaches the 90s (even during his last outing). As a result, Smoltz should do well for the Cardinals as a late game set up man, situational pitcher. Plus LaRussa loves to use his bullpen to exploit match-ups (as opposed to Bobby who puts a guy in and leaves them out there) and Smoltz gives him another veteran piece to have fun with (since as all you sportswriters like to tell us, LaRussa is a genius).

So let’s all move on and wish Smoltz well whenever he and the Cards are playing anyone but the Braves as their efforts might help us reach the wild card especially since they look like they will win their division since the Cubs are done.

LET’S GO BRAVES!

Phil

August 19th, 2009
8:36 am

“All I’m Saying”,
Hello!! Are you out there?????

Remember our little conversation yesterday when I gave you the example of when Cox brought in Reitsma and left him in too long and the game got out of reach??

It was Deja Vu again last night. There is no way you can defend that Moron for leaving Lowe in as long as he did and letting the game get completely out of hand.

Cox is the blame for letting that game get completely blown open. I want to hear you or any of you Cox lovers defend that idiot for leaving in Lowe as long as he did.

This is typical Bobby Cox. What’s scary is that he usually waits until the post season to pull stunts like this. We’re only in August and he’s already in post season form. Really scary.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:38 am

Lowe’s not going to the pen. He’d been good lately — until last night.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:39 am

And Hudson didn’t fare too well for Gwinnett on Tuesday — 4 2/3 innings, nine hits.

Matt

August 19th, 2009
8:40 am

“waiting for him to get a ground ball”????????? He got 8 or 9 in a row. I’m sorry but you can put that loss on Bobby. You got to get him out of there and hope the next guy will change it up enough to get an out. When they tied it 4-4 or even went up 5-4 you gotta stick a fork in him and keep your team in it. THat game was over when the 4th ended. That’s booby cox’s loss!!!

Eddie

August 19th, 2009
8:42 am

I was surprised to see Nick Esasky was among about 4 or 5 ex-Braves who threw out the first pitch of the first home game for the Gwinnett Braves this year. With only 9 games and a “see ya later” I don’t consider him as an ex-Braves player, though.

All I'm Saying Is...

August 19th, 2009
8:43 am

All you BC Haters: Last night was an easy decision for a manager: Lowe is our ace, a veteran pitcher who knows how to pitch out of trouble, it was early in the game, Lowe had been cruising up to then, Lowe was slated to lead off the next inning, middle relief has been an issue for us (brought in a rookie after Lowe and Medlen did fairly well with 5Ks in 2.1 innings but did give up 3 hits) and Lowe is a ground ball pitcher and what was needed was a double play. Leaving Lowe in made all the sense in the world.

Yunel Asscobar

August 19th, 2009
8:48 am

Mark – when are you going to break the news??? Bobby’s going on the 15-day DL – severe case of brain farts that doctors cannot control!

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:51 am

Here’s the thing: You’re not thinking your starting pitcher is going to yield nine hits in an inning. Was Cox slow to react? Absolutely. But it’s not as if there was much warning. Lowe had gone at least six innings in his past nine starts.

Sometimes weird stuff occurs. Remember Tom Glavine in the 1992 All-Star Game? Nine hits in 1 2/3 innings.And he’s a Hall of Fame pitcher, and he was then at the absolute peak of his career.

Kashi

August 19th, 2009
8:51 am

Lowe wasn’t struggling…AGREE, but McLouth on DL and Omar just came from DL, Why cox won’t call Blanco to play center and plug Kelly at second who helped won series against Dodgers. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeew Left/Left matchup. If it wasn’t kelly we would lose 3 out of 4 in west. Now it seems like with this offense we are penciled with “L” tomorrow against Santana and tonight is a toss-up. Way to go to grab play off.

If you were manager and play-off start next week, would you let Lowe be your #1 starting pitching?

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:54 am

And I should also tell you this: Bobby Cox doesn’t judge hits the same way the official scorer does. If a ball isn’t hit hard, Cox thinks the guy got a break. (That’s if the guy’s on the other club.) Over the years this has driven me slightly crazy, but that’s the way he judges his pitcher: If a guy’s giving up ground-ball hits, he’s not being hit hard no matter how many find a hole.

I remember Steve Avery giving up four consecutive hits to Cincinnati, the fourth being a Glenn Braggs slam. Cox didn’t see this as an indictment of Avery: “Three bloops and a blast,” he said.

Braves101

August 19th, 2009
8:55 am

Too much booz the night before for Lowe. He should not party the night before a game! COME ON KID!

David

August 19th, 2009
8:55 am

I’m calling yesterday “Bad News Tuesday”. I tune in to the game around 8:00 and see 4-0 Braves. Thirty minutes and 8 runs later, I hear Prado left the game with another headache and Hudson got shelled in his rehab start. I check boxscores and see that Phillies, Marlins, Rockies and Giants all win. And then I hear late last night that Smoltz is going the Cardinals (not really bad news, but I was happier with Smoltz in the AL). And then I stubbed my toe on the dresser going to bed. Bah!

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:56 am

If the playoffs started next week, I think Vazquez would be the first man in the rotation. Then Lowe, then Jurrjens, then Hanson.

All I'm Saying Is...

August 19th, 2009
8:58 am

Phil: Since you called me out by name, I will further respond with this: Don’t let my list of facts explaining why leaving Lowe in made all the sense in the world dissuade you from your dislike of BC as it certainly makes more sense to small minded individuals and requires much less effort to allow yourself to be led by emotional and visceral concerns as opposed to information and reason particularly when it comes to a game that doesn’t really rely on data like baseball.

LET’S GO BRAVES!

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
8:58 am

Yeah, David, but did you throw your keys in the trash after a late night at Krystal?

Phil

August 19th, 2009
8:59 am

All I’m Saying,
If leaving in Lowe made all the sense in the world, dude, you’re scaring me more than Cox does.

Braves101

August 19th, 2009
9:00 am

Regarding FRENCHY- The new stadium allows the Mets to have great at bats- due to the LARGE outfield- heck, as long as you put wood on the bat- you can consider it a hit…. COME ON KID!!

Bama Aaron

August 19th, 2009
9:06 am

Ok regardless of whether Cox saw them as hard hits or not this was another case of him not having a clue how to manage a pitcher. You can’t afford to give games away (especially when you already have a 4 run lead). I honestly don’t care that Lowe looked fine until the 4th. As has been said before when he goes bad he goes quick and doesn’t come back. He should have been out at least by the time the game was tied (preferably before) and Cox inability to do that cost his team a game they needed.

Phil

August 19th, 2009
9:11 am

Amen Bama Aaron,
We are in a very tight playoff race. We can’t afford games like this. They are all critical at this point. Cox was content with letting this game get away and come back and fight again tomorrow(today). You can’t have an atttiude like that. You have to do WHATEVER it takes to try and win every game from here on out. Should have pulled Lowe LONG before he did. The game was over when Cox finally did.

J Dub

August 19th, 2009
9:15 am

Warren Peace, good one!! That Bill King hat gets me everytime!!