Arizona Wildcats legend Terry Francona stared the “Gray Cloud” in the face and the bad luck blinked because Cleveland managed to increase its historic winning streak to 22 games Thursday night.
Francona, who early this week referred to a bad-luck friend as “Gray Cloud”, overcame his superstitious fears by revealing the identity belonging to former Arizona teammate Bill “Tubby” Kinneberg, who is Utah’s head coach.
“This guy is super human,” Francona joked about Kinneberg’s history of bringing bad luck. Francona did not divulge the story or stories behind the bad luck in a lighthearted press conference before Cleveland beat Kansas City in 10 innings.
Cleveland.com reported that Francona anonymously referred to Kinneberg, a good friend and former teammate, as the ‘gray cloud’ when asked whether he was superstitious about talking to family and friends regarding the winning streak.
“He just always had that reputation, and he knows it,” Francona said with a laugh. “I’m sure he’s really appreciating this now.”
Francona, an outfielder, and Kinneberg, a pitcher, were part of Arizona’s 1980 national championship team. Indians bench coach Brad Mills was their teammate on Arizona’s 1979 team.
Before Cleveland beat Kansas City on Jay Bruce’s dramatic walk-off single Thursday, Francona reached out to Kinneberg, a risky move considering the “Gray Cloud” superstition.
“I went out on a limb last night and called him,” Francona said. “I actually texted him. I called him and he sent me to voicemail. And then he texted me, and then I called him and he picked up and said, ‘You sure you want to do this? Like, man I haven’t talked to you in three weeks.'”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.