Mexican Baseball Manager Apparent Victim Of Virtual Kidnapping

It only gets weirder the more you read about it

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Mar 03, 2017 at 2:35 PM ET

Mexican baseball Hall of Famer Francisco “Paquin” Estrada, who currently manages the Bravos de Leon, was found safe and sound hours after he was reported missing in a bizarre tale that saw him effectively held hostage in a hotel room for three days by someone on the other end of the telephone line.

The Associated Press account speculated that the particulars of the case sound like a “virtual kidnapping,” a crime on the rise whereby kidnappers claim they are holding a loved one—and his or her cell phone—and threaten harm if a ransom is not paid or if someone tries contacting the alleged victim on the phone. (Some Spanish language media made the same presumption, labeling the crime “un secuestro virtual.”)

At a press conference broadcast live on Facebook, Estrada gave a few murky details of his disappearance. The perpetrator is said to have called him regularly, to keep him awake and quiz him on what was on television, in an apparent attempt to ensure he had not left the hotel room.

A legend in Mexico, Estrada is best known in major league circles for being part of the trade package the Angels received—along with Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan—for Jim Fregosi. A catcher, he played three seasons of Double A and Triple A ball for those two franchises, as well as the Orioles and Cubs, and appeared in one big league ballgame with the Mets: He went 1-for-2. He later managed Mexico’s 2006 World Baseball Classic squad.