On a scouting trip to Mexico during the 1981 players’ strike, White Sox manager Tony LaRussa signed Barojas out of the Mexican League. In 1982, the rookie reliever, who spoke no English, won 6 and saved 21 for the Sox.
When he joined the Mariners in 1984, Barojas insisted on working with second-string backstop Orlando Mercado. Miffed, starter Bob Kearney once refused to warm up Barojas in the bullpen. When pitching coach Frank Funk retaliated by tossing Kearney’s glove in the bullpen toilet, Kearney slugged Funk in the face.