Two of the most vividly remembered episodes of the '82 Series involved Andujar. In the seventh inning of the third game, he was coasting along with a two-hit shutout when Ted Simmons hit a smash off his right knee. Andujar, in deep pain, writhed on the ground, and his career flashed before everybody's eyes. He had to be carried off the field.
But five days later, he started the seventh game and won, leaving in slightly different, but equally memorable fashion. "My knee bothered me from the first inning on," Andujar said afterward, "but I told my teammates, don't worry, nobody's going to beat me tonight." Two months after Simmons' shot, Andujar still carries a sizable bump below his right knee. He's also a little pained that he didn't win the Series MVP award.
Andujar came back to the Dominican a hero, maybe that baseball-mad country's biggest baseball hero since Juan Marichal. But he was also about to serve the second year of a three-year suspension from the Escogido club. It seems that Andujar and the team management had had some differences in 1981 as to when he would pitch. But, according to Andujar, the president of the republic, Salvador Jorge Blanco, intervened, and last November Andujar's contract was traded to las Aguilas. He was also offered a villa in Santiago if he would pitch for them. Youneverknow.
Andujar has two houses in San Pedro de Macorís. Only one is habitable. The other is a dream that became a nightmare. Andujar has a real interest in architecture, and he hopes to study the subject formally. Two years ago he began building a huge house of his own design across from the Universidad Central del Este.
It stands there, still unfinished, a monument to overreaching. Andujar tried too hard. The cement walls were misshaped and are now cracked. Horses use the house for shade. A squatter lives in back under a shelter constructed of unused cement blocks. Andujar was going to put a dome over the house, just like the one in Houston, but now he has all but given up trying to rescue the place.
The house Joaquin lives in with his wife, Walkiria, who is also his accountant, and his 3-year-old son, Jesse, is easy to find, although not by map. Drive to any street corner in San Pedro, hail a small boy and let him guide you to the bright red two-story edifice.
The first floor was built years ago by Saturnino, but the second floor is of Joaquin's design. The spacious patio above the street catches a nice breeze and looks out on the schoolyard of the Jose Joaquin Perez high school, where Andujar played as a boy.
Three days before he's to pitch in his first game for las Aguilas, Andujar is chatting away in one of his rockers. "Being called a fantoche [hot dog] doesn't bother me," he says. "Whoever plays baseball strong, they call him a hot dog. People think I'm crazy, but I'm not. Maybe sometimes I do funny things, but it's only because I'm being natural.
"Would you like a beer? It's great to be alive because when you are dead, you can't drink beer. On the field, I have no friends. I'm a mean sonofabitch. But off the field, I can be very nice."
Andujar points with pride to nearly everything in the house: the curtains, the flowers, the pennants, the bar, the stereo, the hundred or so land crabs he raises out back. His biggest joy is his bedroom, with the giant red disks in the ceiling. "I hear the rain and remember where I came from," he says.