Bo Belinsky - The Angel Who Was a Playboy
September 30, 2010
by William Szczepanek
Playboys come and playboys go. Baseball has had a lot of them. Young, good looking guys come quickly into money and attractive woman seem to show up. Some athletes, like Joe Namath, are able to cultivate their persona, live through it and become even more successful.
In the 1960s a pitcher named Bo Belinsky tried to do the same but the result was more of what could be expected from living in the fast lane. In 1962 Belinski started his career with 5 straight victories for the Los Angeles Angels. He had already been known for his night-life before he even made it to the Majors while he played in the minors in the Oriole organization. After being drafted by the Angels he used the southern California lifestyle to openly womanize and become known as the playboy-athlete of the day. Belinsky's problems were furthered by mixing his one-night-stands with psychedelic drugs and soon the harder stuff.
Belinsky not only was a creation of the sixties, but an example of what the sixties did to the vulnerable. He probably got more press than any pitcher with a lifetime record of 28 wins and 51 losses. Belinsky exuded slick and fast and his gaudy dress exemplified his image. He looked like a hustler and gambled with his life in everything he did.
On May 5, 1962, as a rookie, after a night of "everything you could think of" and while sporting a 3-0 record, Belinsky pitched a no-hitter, eliminating the credence that sex before sports limits your performance. After going 7-1 he quickly slid downhill finishing the season at 10-11 and leading the league in walks with 122.
Belinsky was seen around town with Ann-Margret, Connie Stevens, Tina Louise and Mamie Van Doren, who he called his "physical therapist". His men friends included columnist Walter Winchell and Hugh Hefner, who helped him land Playboy Playmate of the Year, Jo Collins. He later married and divorced her along with heiress, Janie Weyerhaeuser.
Belinsky pitched for the Angels, Phillies, Astros, Pirates and Reds having only one year with a winning record, 9-8 in 1964 for the Angels. He became a spokesman for alcohol abuse and corrected much of went wrong with his life. He still stands as one of the best examples of what a little success at anything in life can bring without the character to put things in the right perspective.
Today, we have Alex Rodriguez who has been associated with Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Madonna and even the woman who did in Elliot Spitzer, madam Kristin Davis. Davis is now running for NY Governor herself. If she makes it we can be sure Congress will follow her every move. Rodriguez has been able to dance the dance and still has not had it affect his game... much... yet. Time will tell.
You can check out Belinsky's stats at Baseball-Reference.com.