Friendship in minors between Juan Pierre, Chone Figgins blossoms into long-term bond in majors
February 18, 2013 in Spring Training
After 15 years apart, the two buddies have been reunited by the Marlins, who brought back Pierre on a one-year deal and signed Figgins to a minor-league contract after he was released by the Mariners with $8 million still owed to him this coming season.
The two players share much in common.
Each is 35. Both were born and raised in the South, Pierre in Louisiana and Figgins in Georgia. Both are speed merchants and won stolen base titles. Both went from the top of the sport to the bottom, landing on the bench after years of providing major contributions to their respective teams. And both are fiends in terms of working overtime to improve.
Pierre and Figgins are among the first players to arrive to spring training each morning and among the last to leave.
“Nobody likes to give in,” Figgins said. “I don’t want to be the last one to say, ‘OK, I’m done hitting.’ He doesn’t want to be the last one to say, ‘I’m good.’ I can always do some more. So can he.”
They’re so close that when Pierre was with the Chicago White Sox and they were visiting Seattle, he would stay with Figgins during the series. When Pierre was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Figgins would stay with him.
But after shaking hands on the field before the game, Pierre said that it “became war.”
“I love him to death,” Pierre said. “But when he was at third and I was at the plate, I’d be, ‘OK, I’m gonna bunt [successfully] on you.’ ”