The phone call reaches Anthony Molina in the middle of a delivery.

The former Moline High School baseball and football standout has a load of furniture in the back of the truck, and he suspects he might be lost. He thinks he's somewhere around Sebring, Ky.

But he's still willing to talk about the only thing any media person ever wants to talk to him about: Ben Christensen.

Two years after receiving an undisclosed-but-allegedly-significant settlement from his lawsuit against Christensen, Molina is earning a living by delivering furniture around Evansville, Ind.

But at least he has a job.

Christensen no longer does. The Chicago Cubs have given him his release.

Most people probably figured Molina received justice two years ago when Christensen wrote him a check for a reported $400,000, but the real justice arrived late last week when Christensen's dreams went the way of Molina's.

Unless another major league team steps in to sign him, Christensen's baseball career is over. The former  No. 1 draft choice never got anywhere near the major leagues. He spent parts of four seasons in Class AA but never went any higher.

"I didn't really care what happened to his career either way,'' Molina said upon hearing the news. "He's the one who is going to have to live with what he did.

"You know, everything evens out in baseball. Whatever you do, the baseball gods will find you.''

Augie Molina, Anthony's father, said he never doubted that what went around would come around.

"I always said God would take care of Ben Christensen, and he did …'' Augie said. "His life probably would have been a lot better if he'd never done this to Anthony.''

What Christensen did to Anthony Molina has been well-chronicled from coast            to coast.

It happened April 23, 1999, when Christensen was the star pitcher for Wichita State and Molina was the star leadoff man for Evansville University.

They were preparing for a game between the two Missouri Valley Conference rivals to begin. Christensen was throwing warm-up pitches while Molina stood near the on-deck circle, an estimated 24 feet from home plate.

Molina was one of the few players in the Valley who had any success against Christensen. It's not clear if any words were spoken between them that day. It's not clear what - if anything - Molina was doing at that moment.

What is beyond dispute is that one of Christensen's 90-mph warm-up pitches crashed into the left side of Molina's face, shattering several bones and forever altering the vision in his left eye.

Molina's season was over. For all practical purposes, so was his career.

Christensen was suspended for the remainder of the season.

The incident made national headlines and exposed Christensen to the scorn of fans across the country. But it didn't keep the Cubs from selecting him in the first round of the June draft and giving him a signing bonus of more than $1 million.

Some Cub fans threatened to boycott their team if Christensen ever made the big club although Christensen continued to insist that the beaning of Molina was an "accident.''

This columnist had a chance to interview Christensen in person in January of 2001. He was pleasant, articulate and accommodating, but not overly remorseful. He tried very hard to paint himself as the victim.

He said he still thought about "the accident'' from time to time, "but it's not like it's made me nuts or anything.''

Nevertheless, Christensen never came close to fulfilling his baseball potential.

He endured a litany of elbow and shoulder injuries, twice undergoing surgery.

In six seasons in the minor leagues, he wandered from Mesa, Ariz., to Eugene, Ore., to Daytona Beach, Fla., to Jackson, Tenn., appearing in only 69 games and winning just 12 times.

In the nine games he pitched with the Class AA West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx this spring, he reportedly struggled to throw the ball more than 85 mph. In the only game he started, he lasted less than an inning.

Last Thursday, the Cubs cut him loose, clearing a spot for a younger, more promising prospect.

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The move seemed to give closure to at least a few people in the Molina camp.

"Anthony can't play any more, so it's only fair that (Christensen) can't play either,'' said Rand Wonio, the Davenport attorney who represented Molina in all of his lawsuits.

But this development isn't making everyone feel better. Augie Molina said he won't feel better until Christensen tells the entire story of why he did what he did.

"Anthony is still blind in that eye,'' Augie said. "He (Christensen) still got away with attempted murder. He never had to go to court.

"Wichita State's program didn't have to pay in any way. They're back to being one of the top programs in the country. This never really affected them in any way.''

Meanwhile, Anthony Molina is still trying to decide what to do with his life.

He served as an assistant coach at Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Ill., but quit because he didn't feel the time he invested matched up with the rewards.

He now delivers furniture and plays a little semi-pro baseball on the side, albeit with blind spots and limited depth perception.

He said the job market for someone with a business degree is not very good in a place like Evansville, but he has no desire to move to a big city.

"I like not having to having to sit in traffic,'' he said. "I like not having to pay six dollars for a happy meal.''

He is thinking of getting his masters degree and perhaps in the meantime, the job market will improve.

He said Christensen's release didn't mean much to him. He certainly didn't give him any added closure or satisfaction.

"I didn't go out and throw a party or anything …'' he said. "Now he gets to do what I do. He'll have to go out and get a job.''

Don Doxsie can be contacted at (563) 383-2280 or ddoxsie@qctimes.com.