Monday, October 17, 2011

There’s Something Odd About Maurice McDermott

I don’t know, there’s just something not quite right about this guy.  His are just some of the stranger cards I’ve ever seen.  I’m not sure what it is, but there’s definitely something going on here.

A quick look at the backs of these cards gives me a couple of clues.  First, he’s a man of many names: “Maurice,” “Maury,” “Mickey,” “Lefty.”  Second, a couple of the cards mention that McDermott spends his offseason as “a singer at a Boston nightclub.”  Wow!  Now, that’s definitely not your typical job driving a delivery truck or doing construction.

Very interesting.  Moving over to the Internet, I find: 
  • His father faked his birth certificate so he could get him signed at 15.  Part of the signing agreement included several truckloads of Ballentine beer.
  • He lost a no-hitter at the age of 17.
  • He pitched two more no-hitters in the minors.
  • He was the topic of a Normal Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover (see below).
  • He went 18-10 for the Red Sox one year, 7-15 the next.
  • He was playing in a baseball game when Castro took over Havana.  Several fans and players were shot.
  • He palled around with Kerouac and Sinatra.
  • He won seven million in the Arizona lottery.

Holy Harry Caray!  Why haven’t I heard of this guy before?  What a story.  Could it all be true?

Anyway, it’s not terribly surprising that very little of this was reflected in his baseball cards (the timing’s off, if nothing else).  But I’ll show them and have some fun with them anyway. 

Not a baseball card, I know.  But it’s based on a picture and story Rockwell saw in Life detailing McDermott’s call up to the Red Sox at 19.


Maurice looks about 15 in this pic.  And this is after the Red Sox!  He was actually 25.

Still looking like a choir boy (albeit a slightly jaded one).   Heck, he looks like he’s wearing his big brother’s jersey.  And what in the world are those funny things under his arms (armpit cups?)?

Hmm …  This one just looks weird.  The skinny face, the ears, the expression …

This may be the strangest card I’ve ever seen.  Maurice looks like he just got out of a prison camp.  How much did this guy weigh?  Also, could he look any more fey?

My God!  He’s aged twenty years in the space of five cards.  And he did it going backwards!  Remember, he played with the Red Sox before he played with Washington

This whole set of cards is just plain strange.  I’m at a loss for what to say (and that’s saying a lot right there).

* - author has this card


  1. I'm sure McDermott was just visiting our planet for a while before he got home sick.

  2. My dad grew up next door to Mickey in Poughkeepsie and has some McDermott memorabilia....but yeah, strange looking cards!

  3. The funny pattern under McDermott's armpits looks like a precursor to the current "breathing" patterns seen on shirts in various sports in order to allow the fabric to "breathe".