Sloppy Cases: Elijah Dukes, a Major League Problem
In the 1989 baseball film, Major League, Charlie Sheen portrays Wild Thing. The fictional player is not only known for his career as a flamethrowing righthander but also a delinquent. Early on, Wild Thing doesn’t understand how to fit in with the rest. For example, he cuts off his sleeves from his uniform and refuses to wear a hat, showing off his legendary haircut. It’s interesting to think about the select few baseball players who’ve dealt with police intervention at some point in their life. We’ve already covered Milton Bradley in this segment, but another came to my head recently. I’m talking about the former Nationals outfielder, Elijah Dukes but his story doesn’t have a Hollywood ending.
For starters, Elijah Dukes only played three seasons in the majors between 2007-2009. He wasn’t a bad player, but nothing exactly stood out for him in terms of statistics. Dukes was above-average with getting on base, having a career OBP of .349. He actually posted a super decent OBP in his 2008 season, getting on base 38.6% of the time. Perhaps his greatest moment on the field was homering in his first MLB at-bat. Other than that moment, he wasn’t a star hitter nor did he put up power numbers.
These were the least of his troubles. Even just starting out in his first season as a big leaguer, he was already having legal issues. His ex-wife filed a restraining order against him after Dukes threatened to kill her and his children. He sent her a text message of a gun and a text that read “you dead, dawg… your kids too.” Such a great way to start a young baseball career.
In the summer of 2007, Dukes had more issues at hand. A 17-year-old girl came forth and said she was impregnated by him. Dukes in response threw a Gatorade bottle at her. He didn’t receive a penalty on this and law enforcement claimed it was consensual. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time he has thrown an object at a loved one, as he threw a remote control at one of his girlfriends, as well as physically choking another. What a man.
The Nationals had enough of Duke’s colorful behavior and assigned an ex-cop to be his “special assistant.” He was also to enroll in anger management classes.
Too bad these classes didn’t help the outfielder. After early retirement from baseball, he ran into more trouble. It just wouldn’t end for this guy. The first offense was driving with a suspended license in Florida. Showing what a great father he is once again, he did the duty of not paying child support, leading to another arrest. Let’s just add the cherry on top. In 2013, there was another case of domestic abuse under his belt, striking a pregnant ex-girlfriend, leading to an arrest after living in motels with her in Florida. He really gives off Florida man vibes.