FORMER PHILLIES outfielder Curt Ford was the victim of an unprovoked racist attack in St. Louis in which he was punched and told to "go back to Ferguson."
Yesterday, Ford - who played his first four major league seasons with the Cardinals - said he is considering moving because of the incident.
"I'm going to let the authorities handle this situation, but I've had enough of St. Louis," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You hear about this kind of stuff happening, and I always knew it existed because of my previous experience working here in St. Louis, but you try to keep away from it and there is just no way you can do that unless you stay inside like a hermit."
Ford, who played his final two seasons with the Phillies (1989-90), said the incident started when he and the attacker both tried to drive up to the same pump at a gas station mini-mart. Ford said he moved to another pump and was about to go into the store when the man started yelling racial slurs before attacking him and driving off.
"I was sucker-punched, blindsided," the 54-year-old Ford said. "I was walking into the store and hit from my blind side."
Police arrested 37-year-old James Stewart, who is white, and charged him with assault motivated by discrimination. Police said Stewart was seen on the store's surveillance video.
Stewart, police said, has a criminal record that includes possession of marijuana and assault.
"I just want justice," said Ford. "It's all I want."
One last thing . . .
How cool is Dean Smith?
The former North Carolina basketball coach, who died in February at 83, made arrangements to have each of the approximately 180 young men who lettered for him over his 36 seasons to receive a $200 check with the message "enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith."