Monday, April 2, 2012

Just Plain Ugly (’50 Version, The Early Years)

Alright, admit it.  This is why you came to this site in the first place, isn’t it?  And I’m not one to disappoint.  Ugly?  We got ‘em.  In fact, we got so many of ‘em, it’s going to take two posts to cover them all – and that’s only for the ‘50s.

So, what is it about baseball players?  Are they uglier than the population as a whole?  Not really.  We’re talking about 35 players per team times 16 teams.  That’s um, er, hold on a sec … That’s almost 600 players per year.  So, unless there’s some correlation between looking like a fashion model and hitting the curveball, chances are there are going to be at least a couple of guys out there who aren’t about to win any beauty contests.

So, here they are, some ugly mugs from the early ‘50s …


Interestingly, this was the only year this guy was known as “Spook.”  Can’t say I blame him for reverting to Forrest.

Even more interestingly, the nickname supposedly came “from his tendency to dump hits just over the heads of opposing infielders” (Wikipedia).  Nah, I don’t get it either.

Perhaps most interestingly (sorry, on a roll), his real name was Forrest Vandergrift Jacobs.  I’m surprised that didn’t have a III or IV after it.

I think Roy could have been a “Spook” too.  Also, I’m not sure I’ve seen a player whose eyes were further apart on his head.  I’ve seen fish with more binocular vision than Roy.

Roy Face had a rather nice career.  He led the NL in saves three times, and also saved three games in the ’60 Series.   Additionally, he had one of the best years ever for a pitcher, going an incredible 18-1 in 1959.

Too bad Roy’s nickname wasn’t “Spook.”  “Spook Face” – a classic! 

And here's Roy again, albeit looking a lot more grizzled.

This Roy looks a little like the other Roy.  But with a thinner face, pointier ears, and googlier eyes.   And that’s quite an accomplishment!

Roy Smalley had an okay career, playing for 11 years, with a couple as a starter.  He’s better know for his genetic contribution to baseball however. 

He and Gene Mauch’s sister combined their baseball genes to produce Roy Smalley III, the longtime Twin infielder.  Tellingly, Roy was a little better than Dad.  Mom was a real babe, so Roy III won out in the looks department too. 

More ugly from Roy right here.


Camilo looks about 16 here.  An ugly 16 to be sure.  Man, he’s got it all, doesn’t he?  Big ears, big brows, chicken neck, sneer …

This is his rookie card, though he was 20, not 16.  He was in the majors for 17 more years.  During that time, Pascual led the AL in strikeouts three straight years, won 20 twice, and scored 174 victories total.  Not too shabby.

And here's a shot of Camilo looking a little more mature.

This guy’s got it all going on too – ears, teeth, dumb look.

Oh, by the way, his full name is Bob Chipman – in case you couldn’t read the signature.  Hence the inevitable nickname, Mr. Chips. 

Mr. Chips?  For the less literary and the younger among you, it’s from a book and movie, Goodbye Mr. Chips, about British public schools and World War I.  No, I know, that has absolutely nothing to do with baseball.


I know this is a painting, but wow!  Actually, I’ve seen photos of this guy and, hard to believe, but I think the artist is doing him a favor here.

Harry Simpson had one of the great nicknames of all times, “Suitcase.”  Playing for 17 different teams (majors and minors) over a span of eleven years will do that for you.

* - author has this card

And don't forget to tune in next week, where we'll look at some uglies from the later '50s.

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