Johnny Klippstein was known for many things. Unfortunately, the main thing might have been his lack of control. Can you believe he was once pulled in the 7th inning of a no-hitter, after giving up eight walks? It wasn’t just that one game though. In four of his 18 seasons, he had more walks than strikeouts. His nickname of the “wild Man of Borneo” seemed to be well-earned.
To give him his due, though, Johnny must have been doing something right to stay in the bigs for 18 years. And he was, in fact, a league leader four times. Unfortunately, two of those were for wild pitches and one for hit batters. On the plus side, he did lead the
in saves in 1960 (though with a measly 14). AL
Over those 18 years, Johnny played with eight different clubs. He began as a starter, but really found his niche in relief. He was famous for being able to warm up with just ten pitches.
He loved the Cubs, though, and actually retired in the
. In fact, he died in Elgin IL, at age 76, listening to a Cubs game on the radio. Not a bad way to go. Windy City
Okay, now that’s all very nice. What I want to know, though, is why doesn’t anybody ever say anything about this guy’s ears? I mean, they’re huge! This guy is to ears what Wally Moon is to unibrows and Don Mossi is to ugly.
So, take it away, Johnny. ‘Ears to you!
1953. It’s a painting, so maybe the illustrator toned things down a little. Previous cards – all paintings too – are much the same.
One of the years he led the league in wild pitches.
1954. Photos don’t lie. Johnny looks like he could flap those things and take off.
1961. Hat off, three-quarter shot, and dark background really make ‘em stand out on this one.
1962. Sans chapeau, encore.
You can always tell the guys who moved around a lot. Why bother with a hat when you know you’re going to be someplace else next year?
1965. My favorite. It’s basically the same as the ’61 shot, but somehow or other, the ears seem to have grown to the size of long-playing records or small serving trays.
* - the author has this card