Monday, May 21, 2012

Just Plain Weird: A ‘50s Miscellany (Part the First)

Not everything can be put into a nice, neat little category, can it?  Not everyone has bushy eyebrows, or a unibrow, or weird-looking glasses, or big ears, or a funny name now, do they?  So, what're you going to do with all these other guys, huh?  Just throw them together in a big, messy heap?

Yup, that’s what I’m going to do.  So, here it is, my big, messy, 1950s heap …

You all knew Hank was right-handed, right?  If you doubt me, just take a look at the 4 under his left (in this shot, right) arm. 

I’m so glad he was playing with a team in a town that began with a bilaterally symmetrical letter.  This sort of thing just wouldn’t fly in Philly or Cleveland or Kansas City.

More weird Hank right here.


So, if that was a 4, then this is a ... 6? ... b? ... Cyrillic?

Chuck Cottier was a light-hitting middle infielder who managed to parlay his limited skills into nine years in the bigs. He had one year as a starter, with the lowly '62 Senators. He also had two seasons with an average under the Mendoza line.

Chuck was also a manager, going 98-119 with the mid-80s Mariners. He's still in organized ball, as a special consultant for the Nats. He's been to spring training for 55 of the last 58 years!


Really … weird … look …  What exactly is going on here?  What is he looking at?  What did the photographer prompt him with to get this?

Hmm, a rookie star of 1959, eh?  You’d think I would have heard of him.  Heck, I’ve heard of Willie McCovey and Bob Allison (the ROYs for that year).  Who’s this Eddie Haas guy?

Well, as it turns out, 1959 was the year that was not to be for Eddie.  He broke an ankle before the season started, missed the whole year, and that was pretty much that.  Lifetime, Haas only had 70 at-bats

Hey, Don, where’d you get those lips?  Angelina Jolie must be so jealous.

Don Lee bounced around for nine seasons, with seven clubs.  His father, Thornton Lee, was also a major league pitcher.  Interestingly, Ted Williams homered off both father and son, the only time that feat’s ever been accomplished.

Wanna see Don again? Click here.


No, no, Bob, let go of the ball.  The ump’s going to call a balk on you for sure!

Bob Keegan had a pretty interesting career with the Chisox.  Overall, it wasn’t that impressive – six years, 40-36 record, 3.66 ERA.  He did, however, throw a no-hitter.  He also had an All-Star year, where he went 16-9.  Other than that, it was pretty average. 

Oh, by the way, his nickname was “Smiley.”  Is that irony?

They let this guy do this?  Cut off his sleeves?  To show his muscles?  In the straight-laced ‘50s? 

Ostensibly, Klu did it because his massive biceps wouldn’t fit into the standard uniform: “They got pretty upset, but it was either that or change my swing — and I wasn't about to change my swing.”  (Wikipedia)

And what a swing it was.  He hit 40 or more homers three times; led the league in HRs, RBIs, and hits; and was a four-time All Star. 

Is it just me, or would Hank look exactly like the mascot if his ears were only a little bit pointier?

Hank Edwards was a decent outfielder who lost some prime time to WWII and a host of injuries.  Some highlights of his career include:

·         Winning a triple crown in the minors
·         Leading the AL in triples in 1946
·         Batting .364 in 1950 (over 110 at bats)
·         Making it into the Norwalk (Ohio) High School Hall of Fame


Is his shirt not tucked in, or has Hank just been drinking a few too many brews after the game? 

Well, his playing height and weight were 6’0” and 195 lbs.  Hank was a big boy.

Over 11 seasons, Hank Foiles tallied 1500 at bats, but got over 300 in a season only twice.  He finished with a .243 average and 46 dingers.

Somehow or other, though, he managed to get an All-Star appearance and also a biography out of that classic backup career.

There’s a story here, I’m sure of it.  What that story is, however, is not so clear.  Perhaps Topps asked Salvador Dali to design a few cards that year.  “Eyeballs on a stick?  Sure, I can do that.”

Wait a minute.  It’s starting to come to me.   I’m thinking this might have something to do with the number six … within the context of batting … and that this may perhaps have been a good thing, maybe even something of an accomplishment on the part of Gus.

Yup, turns out  Gus hit six home runs in three games to tie a major league record.  A tad obscure, but congrats nonetheless, Gus Zernial!

* - author owns this card

More weirdness right here.


  1. On the Chuck Cottier card, Topps used the same photo they had used for his 1960 card, when he was a Milwaukee Brave. The "number" on the sleeve was put there to cover the Braves Indian head logo.
    The 1961 Tigers uniform did not have a number nor a stripe on the sleeve.
    Chalk this up to bad airbrushing

  2. Hey, thanks! Nice piece of analysis.