Stealing Home

As it turns out, series hero Juan Pierre didn't come from nowhere.

Originally Published: November 24, 2003
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

Juan Pierre is rolling through Alexandria, La., on this sunny fall day, but he doesn't have any wheels. He's made no special arrangements for his homecoming. No upgraded rental, no deluxe freebie from a local car dealership -- and he certainly could have pulled that off, because, after all, he's a World Series hero. Instead, he's borrowing his mother's Mazda sedan. It's middle-aged, slightly sunburned, the kind of car probably owned by thousands of moms and zero major league ballplayers.

The loaner comes with a catch. About an hour into a photo shoot on the banks of the Red River, Pierre starts sliding his cell phone out of the pocket of his blue jeans and glancing at its clock. His mother, a preschool teacher, is about to get off work. He says it'll take just 10 minutes to pick her up, and he promises to come right back. "The good thing here," says the 26-year-old centerfielder, "is that it takes 10 minutes to get anywhere."

The most famous car-pooler in Alexandria putters away, operating on a tight schedule. He collects his mom, Derry, poses for a few last shots and then hustles to City Hall, where the city council is about to honor him on the eve of Juan Pierre Day.

Buster Olney | email

ESPN Senior Writer