Monday, July 23, 2012

John Roseboro: Major League Crazy

I’m afraid all I really remember about this guy is his getting conked on the head with a bat by Juan Marichal.

As is turns out, John Roseboro was actually a pretty darn good baseball player.  In a 15-year career, he won a Gold Glove twice, was an All Star four times, and was the starting catcher in four World Series.  Overall, he finished just short of 5000 at bats, and got just over 100 HRs and 500 RBIs.

It also appears – based on these baseball cards, if nothing else – that John Roseboro was also clinically insane.  I have never seen such a collection of maniacal grins, crazy stares, and downright straight-outta-the-state-hospital looks in my life.

So, take it away, Mr. Seriously Deranged Mental Patient …


1959.  More goofy than crazy, Roseboro managed to look slightly less insane for his first card.

It was a good year for a rookie – 114 games, 14 homers, and an All Star berth.  The Series was another story, however.  I’m talking two hits in 21 at bats, for an .095 average.


1960.  Okay, here we go …

Very similar to the previous year, though with a little falling off in BA.


1961.  Same look, but this time with hat.

A definite falling off – less than 300 at bats and a .213 average.  Might have been hurt.  Might have been involuntarily committed.  Who knows?


1962.  From the side.

Another All-Star berth, and a career-high 18 homers.

1963.  Other side.

Back down to seven dingers, but still in the Summer Classic.

1965.  Action shot.

Over 400 at-bats, a career-high .287 average, but only three taters.


1966.  Is that a smile?

This is the year of the incident.  Pretty average otherwise though.  It was his best year in the Series.  He hit .286, 129 points higher than his career average.


1968.  Action shot.

Under 300 at bats for the first time in four years.  And at 35, that’s a pretty good sign it’s the beginning of the end.

1970.  After 11 years, John Roseboro finally looked the camera in the eye. 

His last year is with the Nats, getting in less than 100 at-bats, then calling it quits.

After his playing career, Roseboro was a coach and hitting and catching instructor.  He also opened his own PR firm and acted in a handful of TV shows and one film.  Guess he wasn’t so crazy after all.

* - author has this card


  1. Nice collection of cards. In my opinion, the 1965 photo is the coolest though.

  2. Roseboro was a bad ass. Criminal Marichal cracked him in the dome and Roseboro was still going after the Giants.

  3. Yeah, so maybe that was the look Roseboro was going after - bad ass. Explains a lot.

  4. If you take away the glove from the '65 card, it looks like John is about to throw a two-seam fastball!

  5. Nah, that would tail away from whoever's handling the throw down to 2nd. I think this is a 4-seamer.