Monday, August 27, 2012

Before There Was Dentistry (‘50s Version)

I don’t see this happening in this day and age.  Heck, every American seems to get their teeth whitened, straightened, starched, pressed, and re-grouted as a matter of course these days.  And it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a movie star or a forklift operator. 

It’s hard to remember that teeth don’t naturally look that way (though paying a couple of orthodontist’s bills does help – take it from me).  Even so, that “all natural” look sure can make you look a little … um … er … stoopit.

You’d think, though, that a ballplayer would have the dough to be able to straighten things up a little.  Yeah, I know, ballplayers didn’t make nearly as much back then (and I’m sure some of them drove a forklift in the offseason too).  Still …

Not too bad.

Hal Smith bounced around for 10 years with five clubs, usually part of a platoon.  His main claim to fame was hitting a homer in the bottom of the 8th to put the Pirates up in the last game of the 1960 World Series.  Of course, the Bucs gave up the tying run in the top of the 9th, then came back to win it with another homer in the bottom of the inning.  I forget who hit that one.  Some Polish guy, I think. (By the way, did you know Hal had quite the schnozz as well?)



Lou Limmer was up in the bigs for only two years, but managed to do pretty well, getting 19 homers, 63 RBIs, and 66 runs over 530 at-bats total.  Unfortunately, all that went with a .202 average.

Some interesting facts about Lou:
  • He graduated from the Manhattan High School of Aviation
  • He was known as the Babe Ruth of batting practice
  • He’s a member of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Yeah, you can definitely tell on this one.

You’ve met Billy Pierce before, where I shared some of his HoF-level stats.

Sweet orthodontia!  You could drive a bullpen golf cart through those.

Elston Howard is is a pretty familiar name.  He was the first African-American Yankee, won an MVP award in 1963, and was in ten World Series (including one with the Red Sox!?!?)

He died at only 50 of a rare heart disorder.  New York Times columnist Red Smith wrote that "the Yankees organization lost more class on [that] weekend than George Steinbrenner could buy in 10 years."  Amen!

* - author has this card

And don’t forget to catch us next week, when we look at some guys who shilled out a couple of bucks and got a little work done.  In fact, you might say they got a little too much work done.

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