Monday, August 20, 2012

Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest

Lou Gehrig went to Columbia.  Mike Mussina studied physics at Stanford.  Harvard claims 16 players in the major leagues.  Even MIT has a couple.

Hey, wasn’t it Yogi Berra who said “95% of baseball is half mental”?  And he should know, right?   I mean, the guy’s got honorary degrees from Montclair State and St. Louis University!  It’s not called the “thinking man’s game” for nuttin’, ya know.


Let’s start with Johnny Kucks, the incredible pitching hamster.

Except for 1956, Johnny’s career was pretty pedestrian.  In that year, though, he went 18-9 and pitched a 3-hit shutout to clinch the Series for the Yanks.   His second year in the bigs, 1956 was also his last winning season.  Four more years of futility, and then it was all over.


Larry Sherry came into the bigs with a major bang.  After coming up with the Dodgers on the 4th of July, he went 7-2, with a 2.19 ERA.  He played a major role in helping the Dodgers capture the pennant, then the World Series.  In the latter, he won two games, saved two more, and was the MVP.

Larry and brother Norm formed the first all-Jewish battery in MLB history.  Norm looked kind of dumb too, by the way.


One of the original Colt .45s, Al Spangler was a starter for them for three years.  Overall, he was up for 13 years, getting in over 900 games.  His nickname was “Spanky.”

Al is actually a fine Duke University grad – as is yours truly.  Must have been a bad day for Al though.  I can’t say he’s really projecting the correct image for that esteemed institution in this particular shot.  


Hint to Mike: close your mouth.

Mike Roarke was a classic good-field, no-hit backup catcher.  He was up for four years with the Tigers, getting not quite 500 at-bats in that time.  After that, Mike was a coach, minor-league manager, and pitching instructor for almost 50 years. 

Mike went to Boston College, by the way.


Choo Choo Coleman was one of the original Mets.  He was with them for three years and the Phillies for another, finishing with a career average under the Mendoza Line.

As for the nickname, announcer Ralph Kiner once asked him about it:

Ralph: “Why do they call you ‘Choo Choo,’ Choo Choo?”
Choo Choo: “I don’t know, Ralph.”

It was short for Clarence, by the way.


Another weak-hitting backstop, Jim Coker was up for nine seasons, getting over 100 at-bats only twice.  He finished with a .231 average, as well as a fairly respectable 16 homers.

So, what is it about catchers anyway?  Tools of ignorance, right?


Chuck Hinton was a minor star for the expansion Senators.  His best year was 1962, when he hit .310 with 17 homers, 75 RBIs, 73 runs, and 28 stolen bases.  He made the All Star team two years later.

Chuck’s another NC grad.  He went to Shaw, in Raleigh.  I’m thinking phys ed major.

*

Jim Roland was up for ten years, mostly with the Twins and A’s, primarily as a reliever.  Comparable ballplayers include Tom Hilgendorf, Marshall Bridges, and Dyar Miller.  And that’s some pretty impressive company, let me tell ya.

More odd looks from Jim right here.


How about a little more dumb, from a little later in the century?


* - author has this card

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