Monday, November 26, 2012

Phils, Red Sox, Cardinals, Lend Me Your Ears (’60s Version)

These guys should consider themselves lucky.  When it comes to ears, there’s all sorts of things that can go wrong.

You could suffer from rim kinks, accessory auricles, or Selhurst’s handle.  You could have Stahl’s bar, Darwinian tubercules, or cup deformity.  Heck, your helical rim could be compressed, you could have a deformed anti-tragus, or your upper auricular sulcus could not be visible.

As for these guys, all they’ve got is plain ol’ garden variety macrotia (big ones) and microtia (little ones).  Thank God for that!

Hey, Shrek ears!

The Internet is telling me that Jake Wood is the voice of the GEICO gecko.  It also says he was born in London, in 1972, and is best known for playing Max Branning on the BBC soap opera EastEnders.  Wait a minute …  I think I might have the wrong guy.

Sure enough, our Jake does not have a Cockney accent, plus he actually does know which end of a baseball bat to pick up.   That said, his rookie year, was pretty much the highlight of his career.  He got into 162 games, had over 600 at bats, and led the AL in triples.  It was pretty much downhill after that, though, with Jake bowing out of the majors in six more years.  Setting a then league record in strikeouts in that rookie year probably didn’t help things along any.

Nice smirk, by the way.

More little green trumpets! 

One of three brothers who all made the major leagues.  The others were Felipe and Jesus.  They were actually the only brother trio to all appear in the same game, where they manned the outfield en suite.

Not a bad player, Matty Alou finished with a .307 average over 15 seasons.  He led the NL in batting one year and was a two-time All Star.  1969 was arguably his best year, when he led the NL in at-bats, hits, and doubles.  Always liked this guy for some reason.

And here's Matty in a funny little hat.

Dave’s been here before.  I included him on this post just to bring attention to how strangely shaped his ears actually are.  They seem bigger at the bottom than at the top.  The ears, the glasses, the lips …  Dave Sisler was quite the package.

I’ve already discussed Dave’s ineptitude on the mound.  Life after baseball was actually rather kind to him.  He joined investment firm A.G. Edwards and retired from there as a vice chairman.  Sure beats a baseball pension.

Now here are some Hall of Fame lugs.

I’m not totally sure Don Sutton actually belongs in Cooperstown though.  Yes, he met the 300 wins threshold.  But it took him quite awhile to do it (23 years).  And, yes, I know, lasting for 23 years in the majors is quite an accomplishment too. 

What I don’t like about Don, though, is how little he dominated during that 23-year career.  Only once did he lead his league in any of the categories you expect a Hall of Fame pitcher to be a league leader in – wins, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP.  

By the way, he led the league in ERA.  But then again, so did Diego Segui and Atlee Hammaker.

Nothing super special going on here.  Basically, just your standard issue jug handles.

Jim Coates was around for nine seasons, as a reliever and spot starter.  He led the AL in winning percentage in 1960, but might be best remembered for a miscue that allowed the Pirates to stay alive in Game 7 of the series that year.  His nickname was “the Mummy.”

Crew cuts and big ears – a match made in heaven. 

One of the premier firemen of the ‘50s, Clem Labine led the NL in saves in ’56 and ’57.  He was a major Bum, and features prominently in The Boys of Summer.

It’s a great name, isn’t it?  I just don’t understand why kids aren’t named Clem anymore.


Good idea on the three-quarter shot, Bobby.  That brings special attention to your ear and makes it look like it grew perpendicularly straight out of the side of your head.

Bobby Wine was a good-field, no-hit shortstop for the Phillies and Expos.  He won a Gold Glove in 1963.  You might remember him better as a major league coach however.  On and off (and mostly on), he was strolling around the ballfield and hanging out in the dugout from 1972 to 1996. 

More bad Wine here and here.

Wow!  This guy is a kind of a combination of Clem, Bobby, and Jake.  And that’s quite an accomplishment.

Ed Keegan was up for three years, but only got in 23 innings during that time.  He finished with an 0-3 record, 9.00 ERA, and 2.35 WHIP.  That last figure actually equates to 23 walks and 31 hits.  A walk an inning is quite an accomplishment!

Can't get enough of those auricular appendages? Here's some from the '50s and '70s.

* - author has this card

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chaw (‘60s Version)

Great stuff, chewin’ tabacca.   Makes you look stupid and is incredibly bad for you.

My favorite chew tale comes from Ball FourAuthor Jim Bouton tells the story of Steve Hamilton on the mound in a World Series game with a big hunk of the slimy brown stuff in his cheek.  A line drive nearly takes his head off and, in getting out of the way, he manages to swallow the whole load.  Next thing you know, he’s barfing it up live for a national TV audience on the back of the mound.

Something similar happened to yours truly in middle school.   One of my “friends” had gotten ahold of some Red Man and handed it out at recess.  A couple of us stuck a wad in our jaws and headed back to class.  Frau Beresford, my German teacher, noticed something was amiss with my accent and came back to investigate.  Down it went.  I did manage to get excused and hit the boy’s room before the fireworks went off.

I’ve already shared a couple of chewers from the ‘50s with ya.  Now here are plenty more from the much more permissive ‘60s:

Let’s start off with a genuine Hall of Famer.  Nellie Fox, who was a light-hitting, 160-lb., middle infielder, typically struck some sort of tough-guy pose.  This one captures two of his favorite tropes, hat askew and huge wad of chaw. 

Personally, I’m not sure Nellie should be in the Hall.  Okay, so he was a good fielder, played for 19 years, and was hard to strike out.  He never once, however, led his league in a major category.  What I’m talking about here is the stuff that the typical fantasy league might find worth keeping track of – homers, average, runs, RBIs, and steals.

And what that means is that his stats are comparable to some other players in the Hall – Billy Herman, Bobby Wallace, and Red Schoendienst, for example.  Unfortunately, the same comparison also shows some players – Buddy Myer, Lave Cross, and Doc Cramer – who are definitely not in the Hall, and never will be.

More Nellie here, here, and here.


Chaw and a crew cut!  We’re talking light-hitting-middle-infielder-trying-to-look-tough in a major way here.

I talked about Billy Gardner’s hitting prowess in a previous post.  You may actually be more familiar with him in the guise of major league manager.  He was at the Twins’ helm for five years, taking them to the playoffs once, but finishing under .500 overall.


And here we’ve got plug of chaw combined with seriously dopey expression.  Nice!

Would you believe there were two Don Lepperts who played in the majors?  Our Don was a catcher who got into 190 games over four years.  The other was a second baseman who got into 40 games in just one year.  Interestingly, though they didn’t play at the same time, they were only separated by a couple of years.

For me, our Don will always be associated with the Pirates in their glory days.  He was a coach for them from 1968 through 1976.  I can practically close my eyes and see him over at first base.

Another good look, heavy on the chaw and the Brylcreem. 

Pedro Ramos was the “ace of the staff” for the Senators in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.  Unfortunately, what that translates into is leading the AL in losses four years in a row.  Pedro was also one of the few players who played with the original and the post-expansion Senators. 

His life after baseball wasn’t so happy unfortunately.  He actually ended up spending three years in a Federal penitentiary for drug dealing.  Book-length bio of him right here.

Hmm.  I have this funny feeling Larry forgot his chaw and is just faking it by poking his tongue really hard into his cheek.

Larry Burright was up for a couple of years with the Dodgers and Mets.  His main claim to fame is making a couple of errors in a Dodgers’ playoff game loss to the Giants in ’62.

Wanna see Larry looking even more goofy (yeah, I know, hard to believe). Just click here.

Hey, it’s Don Leppert again!  I’m not sure what the photographer told Don here.  Whatever it was, the result was a unique combination of angelic look and devilish lump of ‘bacca.  Love the mini me!

Holy Red Man!  Is this guy going for the new world record?  How many bags of the stuff are you packin’ there, fella?

Larry Osborne was up for five years with the Tigers and Senators.  Only once did he get over 100 at-bats however. 

Larry’s nickname was Bobo.  Apparently, that was something of a Washington tradition.  Bobo Newsom and Bobo Olson predated him.  And according to, the aformentioned three constituted 60% of all major-league Bobos.  Honestly, I can’t make this stuff up.

* - author has this card

Monday, November 12, 2012

‘Brow Bros (‘60s Version)

It was the 1960s.  Long hair was everywhere – afros, sideburns, walrus mustaches, fu manchus, ponytails … 

Oh, wait,, we’re talking about baseball players, aren’t we?  For them, the 1960s were the heyday of the … crew cut.  Sigh.

There was one area, though, where ballplayers let it all hang out – their eyebrows.  And for ‘brows, there was no holding back.  Right on, man!  Let your freak flag fly, brother! 

So, here they are … guys with freaky eyebrows from those wild and crazy ‘60s.


And now for something completely different.  Don’s pair here aren’t necessarily the strips of shag rug that everyone else seems to sport.  Instead, they seem to have a very unusual shape and length.  Nice changeup, Don!

Don Lock had a couple of really good years with the Senators (27 and 28 homers), but never could get the average up and was out of the bigs after eight years.  He was a big fella (6’2” and 202 lbs.) and, consequently, rather prone to the ol’ strikeout.

Okay, this is more like it.  Larry’s seems to have been smudged on by some first grader particularly inept at finger-painting. 

Geez, there sure are a lot of Larry Browns out there.  Looks like we’ve got all the sports covered – a basketball player, a hockey guy, two baseball players, and four football dudes.  And that’s not even mentioning the author and the politician.

With these beauties, I’m guessing Dick’s nickname was something like “Hawk.” 

Unfortunately, lists no nicknames for Dick Egan.  The stats aren’t really worth recording either – four years, three teams, 1-2 record, and 5.15 ERA. 

Jay’s a fairly handsome guy, but those brows are just too much.  Just ask your barber, Joe.  He’ll be honest with you.

One of the first bonus babies, Joey Jay was on a major leaguer roster at age 17.  It would be five years, though, before he would be able to really contribute.  Joey (how his older cards are usually styled) had two great years, for the ’61 and ’62 Reds.  In both, he won 20 games.

Jay, by the way, was the first Little Leaguer to make the majors. 

Joe Pepitone, on the other hand, is not so good-looking.  Which makes me wonder …  Why he was so popular with the ladies (as I understand it, he was kind of a Joe Namath in pinstripes)?  It must have been those yet-to-be-developed sideburns.  Don’t worry, we’ll revisit Joe (and his sideburns) again when we hit the 70s.

Peps was a three-time All Star and Gold Glove winner.  That was nothing, though, compared to:

  • Getting shot (in high school)
  • Being a major star of Jim Bouton’s Ball Four
  • Posing nude for Foxy Lady magazine
  • Spending a couple of months in Rikers for cocaine possession
  • Getting married (and divorced) three times

Ron’s aren’t that bad, but I’m including him here only because he was so darn consistent.  Every card of his (and he was up for 17 seasons) sports a pair of handsome little wooly worms.  

Ron Kline began as a starter, pitching for Pittsburgh (and twice leading the NL in losses) in the early ‘50s.  He switched to relief in the early ‘60s, leading the AL in saves in 1965.  Overall, he played for eight different teams (and the Buccos twice) and wore eight different uniform numbers.

Now, this guy’s nickname actually was “Hawk.”  And he sure does look the part, doesn’t he?  An additional nickname was “Old Tomato,” for his red face. 

Jack Lamabe was up for seven years, playing for seven different teams.  His only real claim to fame is leading the league in earned runs, in 1964 for the Red Sox.  He was also LSU’s first full-time baseball coach, and quite a popular figure there.

* - author has this card

Into brows?  Check out these bad boys from the 1950s and 1970s.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Are You Sure You’re Famous? (‘60s Version)

We’ve all got certain iconic images of our heroes.  For Willie Mays or Ernie Banks, it’s a huge smile.  Babe Ruth?  A smile and a wink.  Yogi Berra?  A crooked smile.  For others, it’s a more serious look.  And for some, it’s a downright scowl.

How strange to come across images that don’t quite match those iconic ones.  Ever seen Billy Buckner with grey hair (yup, it’s happened) or Earl Weaver in street clothes (I had to go 3 pages into Google Images before I could find one of those!)? 

So, here you go …  Cover up the name, and see if you can guess the star!  C’mon, give it a try.  Win free prizes!

You remember this guy, don’t you?  Maybe you know him by his nickname.  I think it was something hokey like Catfish or Crawdad or something.  I think he also might have swapped that KC for an A (Atlanta?).  And don’t I remember him in pinstripes?  Oh yeah, and with a really great mustache?  Hmm.  Actually, you know, I’m not totally sure it’s the same guy.

And you thought Joe Nuxhall was the youngest major leaguer, at 16.  Lou here looks like he’s got Joe beat by at least three years.  (He was actually 20 when this shot was taken.)  

By the way, would you believe Lou was on no less than three rookie stars cards?  That's gotta be a record.

More Sweet Lou right here and here.

So, this is the same guy I saw sitting next to George Bush in the last couple of World Series – a little paunchy, more than a little balding?  Are you seriously telling me that same guy set the all-time record for K’s, threw a record seven no-hitters, and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer?  Sounds like he must have accomplished quite a bit between gangly 19-year-old and aging ex-jock.

And this is that distinguished looking gentleman I saw in the Cards dugout all these years?  I ‘m just having a really hard time imagining anyone as dapper as Tony LaRussa having once sported a crew cut like that. 

You may not even have known that Tony was a playuh.  Yup, six seasons, 176 at-bats, .199 average, seven RBIs ...  Well, maybe not much of a playuh.

Well, it’s nice to know that even underwear models can look like gangly teenagers.  Jim definitely needs that Mark Spitz ‘do, doesn’t he?  (See what I mean?)

Just plain weird.  A little middle-aged spread and some graying sideburns sure helped this guy, didn’t they?

Johnny was 19 when he made his major league debut and this picture was taken.  And he sure does look it, doesn’t he?  (More Bench here and here.)

Looks like Joe really loved Mama’s pasta way back then.  (And more evidence of that right here.)

Joe was actually a pretty good player as well as a really good manager.  For the former, I’m talking 19 seasons, .298 average, NL MVP in 1971, a league-leading .363 average, and nine-time All Star.  Take that, Tony LaRussa!

No shortage of unlikey-looking Hall of Famers here ('50s) and here ('70s).