CANOVANAS, Puerto Rico -- Dozens attended the wake on Monday
of former major league baseball player Ivan Calderon who was gunned
down in Puerto Rico over the weekend.
Calderon, 41, who played for the Seattle Mariners from 1984 to
1986, was shot from behind multiple times at point-blank range at a
bar Saturday evening in northeastern Loiza, police said. No arrests
have been made.
Police Superintendent Victor Rivera Gonzalez ruled out robbery,
saying that detectives were investigating revenge as a possible
motive. His killers sought him out to "execute him," he said.
Calderon sometimes loaned money to people and worked as a
bondsman, and allegedly posted the bail of a person accused of
murder, Rivera said, without providing details.
But his widow, Elsabeth Figueroa, denied the account, saying he
did not loan money to strangers. He dedicated himself to his family
and cockfighting, a legal sport in this U.S. Caribbean territory,
"He's not like they're making him out to be," she said.
Figueroa, 30, was on vacation in New York with their two
children when the shooting took place. Calderon has five other
surviving children from previous relationships.
He was a regular patron of El Trompo bar, which is on a
secondary coastal highway in Loiza, and he arrived there as usual
Saturday evening in his late model yellow Corvette, police said.
Less than two hours later, two men approached Calderon and
without warning opened fire on him, police said. He was hit at
least seven times in the back of the head and the back with a
Calderon was dressed in a suit and tie at his wake in Canovanas,
16 miles east of San Juan.
His coffin was surrounded by baseball memorabilia from his
10-year career, including a No. 22 Montreal Expos jersey with a
special patch commemorating his 1991 All-Star appearance, and a
Chicago White Sox jersey. Photographs of him playing baseball and
trophies also lined the shrine.
A friend of Calderon's said the former slugger loved the sport.
"This is a loss for Puerto Rico and sports," Jose Ortiz said.
Calderon also played for the Mariners and Boston Red Sox.
His best season was 1987 when he batted .293 with 28 home runs
and 83 RBIs with the White Sox. He finished his big league career
in 1993 with a .272 batting average, 104 homers and 444 RBIs.
Calderon was born in the northeastern Puerto Rican town of
Fajardo and lived in Loiza, where he will be buried on Tuesday