Harry Arrojo escaped the projects of Maturin, Venezuela and spent nine years in the US as a pro baseball player, appearing in 55 games. While Harry was not overly talented on the mound, stories of the Venezuelan bachelor’s time in the bigs read like tall tales.
These days, Harry is a huge television star in his home country of Venezuela. Scoop McGillicutty recently caught up with the former major leaguer on the set of his popular show, translated loosely to “Mr. Danger.”
Scoop and Harry talked about life, time in the majors and what it’s like in Maturin after baseball. The former “star” navigated the interview with decent English, and only reverted back to his native language when frustrations were running high.
Here’s Scoop’s exclusive interview.
Scoop: You’re a difficult man to find Harry. I had no idea you were a television star.
Arrojo: After a few years in the majors, I knew I had to leverage the immense amount of fame I had into something long term here in Venezuela. I made almost $2million playing ball and another $2million on endorsements.
In Venezuela, those dollars turn into Bolivars. I came home with almost $40billion Bolivars. I was one of the richest men in Maturin the minute I returned. Unfortunately, the money didn’t last long.
Scoop: That was my next question. Incredible wealth and notoriety comes with a new set of problems right? Let’s talk about that.
Arrojo: My time in Wichita led me to look for solutions at the bottom of a can of PBR. I loved being a Fighting Sea Otter, but the ownership had no clue as to how to handle an international star. I didn’t know the language, and I had no true friends….but cerveza was my amigo if you know what I’m saying. My endorsement deal with the folks at Pabst was a blessing and a curse. They gave me millions, which was nice, but they also gave me a lifetime supply of cerveza – which was a little too nice.
Scoop: During your time in the majors, at your worst day of drinking, how many would you say you consumed?
Arrojo: On my worst day? 14. On my best day, I drank 71. It was my best drinking day, but I was one short of three cases, and that still bothers me.
Scoop: You’re kidding? What was the occasion?
Arrojo: It was Tuesday.
Scoop: Oh. OK. I think I understand.
Scoop: Tell me a little about the transition from Maturin to Wichita, and later, Cheyenne.
Arrojo: Wichita is almost the same size as Maturin, but the differences are muy grande. Maturin was home, and Wichita was very different. Very caucasian. I could only go to the Cowtown Museum or the Sedgewick County Zoo so many times.
I grew to love Wichita though, and when I was traded for that bum Howie Lara, everything changed. I was a major league pitcher. Lara was at best, a batboy. The stress caused me to suffer a back injury that resulted in spasms that ultimately led to me retiring. That trade ruined my career.
Scoop: With all due respect, beer and the inability to pitch effectively ruined your career Harry.
Arrojo: Scoop, I had a 4.2 ERA in the majors before being shipped to Cheyenne. Lots of teams would kill for a SP with a 4.2 ERA right now. In my last season in Wichita, I didn’t give up an earned run all year.
Scoop: You pitched 2 innings.
Arrojo: I pitched in 7 games.
Scoop: You walked 3 guys.
Arrojo: And I got out of every one of those jams. And again, I didn’t give up a run. I was hitting my stride and I feel like I could have kept pitching like that all year. The Lara trade derailed a likely Hall of Fame career. Creo que in mi corazon.
Scoop: I take it that season is your favorite memory of your time in the majors?
Arrojo: That season was magical for me. Every time I hit the mound, I felt like I was untouchable. Like, if a unicorn had unprotected sex with an angel, and they had a baby, I was that baby. I was pitching like I had a potent mixture of unicorn and angel blood coursing through my veins.
We won the AL North that year. We rolled through the AL in the playoffs too, going 7-1 before running into a very good Vancouver team in the World Series.
Scoop: But you never pitched in a postseason game Harry.
Arrojo: Oh Dios mio Spud. I pitched 7 innings of scoreless ball on the way to winning the division. Ask anyone on that team and they tell you we don’t win the division without those 7 innings.
Scoop: But you won the division by 8 games.
Arrojo: I know, thanks in large part to my 7 innings without an earned run.
Scoop: We could go on forever. So tell me what you’re doing now.
Arrojo: Well, “Arrojo” in Spanish translates to ‘danger’ and a lot of my former teammates and the guys at Taco Bell used to call me Captain Danger. So, I mentioned that to some TV friends, and they wrote a show for me called “Mr. Danger.” It’s sort of like a cross between MacGuyver, The Power Rangers and Alf. We just finished shooting our 27th season, and we’re running out of ideas.
Scoop: Much like me with this interview amigo. Let’s wrap this up.
Arrojo: Sure thing. Want a beer?
Scoop: No thanks, I have ice cream in the car.