Well, my first project of spring training isn't going so well. Chairon "Shaggy" Isenia, who has been with the Biscuits since their inception, has retired and has apparently dropped off the radar of his former team and teammates. Nobody I've talked to has talked to him and "he's the type of guy you don't want to lose track of," one former Biscuit said today.
The number I had for him has a Florida area code and no longer works. The number the Rays had for him in Curacao, his home, no longer works. Finding that out was the first international call I've ever made. I even had to call my cell company to allow me to make it.
Isenia sent a letter to the Biscuits' front office last month thanking them for everything. Unfortunately, they didn't have the letter anymore a few weeks ago.
Shaggy was an Original Biscuit who only left the team when he was playing for the Netherlands in international competition. He played for the Dutch in the 2004 Olympics, just as he did in 2000, and played in last year's inaugural World Baseball Classic. Isenia was the longest-tenured member of the Tampa Bay organization. His 11-year career included 794 games played, 2,860 at-bats and approximately 1,673,229 smiles. He was a positive person.
Shaggy retired after the Rays decided not to re-sign him. His last game was Aug. 25, 2006, when he was knocked unconscious in a home-plate collision against Birmingham. Isenia spent a few days in the hospital and never came off the disabled list, but he was in uniform and part of Montgomery's championship celebration.
Then he hung up his spikes for good.