Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bad Hair Day

The ‘60s were the decade of the Beatles, the musical Hair, Joe Namath, afros, and Tiny Tim.  Looking at baseball cards from that era, though, you’d never have a clue.  
But, hey, we’re dealing with jocks with high-school educations from blue-collar families and small Southern towns, right?  They’re going to be at least ten years behind any trend, I guarantee.

That said, there certainly was no shortage of interesting hairdos on their baseball cards.  Not sure why.  Maybe it was just a presage of the incredibly interesting things (Joe Pepitone, Oscar Gamble, et al.) we’d see in the ‘70s.

So, brother, can you spare a comb?


Hat head?  Very humid day?  Both?

John C. Powers (please, don’t forget the middle initial) was primarily a pinch hitter.  He got in 151 games, but only 44 of those were in the field.  That said, he was definitely no Manny Mota.  His lifetime average was .195.  Go figure.


I love it.  John’s perfectly coiffed, but either a stray breeze or a raging cowlick has totally destroyed the whole look.  That thing seems sentient, and looks like it wants to reach out and grab you.

There are no less than 91 John Andersons on Wikipedia.  These include a famous seismologist, “diplomatic writer,” sprint canoer, “controversialist,” Irish hurler, Norwegian-American publisher, Scottish conjurer, and “former Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Lethbridge-East.”

Our John got in 24 games over three years with four teams.  He finished with no wins, a 6.45 ERA and 1.75 WHIP.  


Here, the stray breeze has turned into a small boat advisory, with winds out of the southeast at 20 knots.

Continuing our theme of incredibly common names, “Bob Miller” comes in second at 34 Wikipedia entries.  These include an ichthyologist, “gallerist,” Jamaican diplomat, Australian yacht designer, and “equine behaviorist.” 

In baseball, there have actually been four Bob Millers.  Our Bob was, if nothing else, well-traveled.  Miller played for ten teams over 18 years.  Great bio right here.

And here's Bob with a very different look.

Jimmie here really doesn’t have a lot to work with.  Somehow or other, though, he’s still managed to screw it all up.  

Your basic backup catcher (how many times have I had to use that phrase on this website?), Schaffer was up for five years, without ever getting 200 at-bats once.  And, no, sorry, there are not 43 other Jimmie Schaffers out there.

More Jimmie right here.

Fred’s nickname was “Bed Head.”  Fred “Bed Head” Whitfield, the pride of Vandiver, AL.  I’m kidding.

Fred Whitfield was an outfielder, rodeo star, and NBA executive.  Wait a minute …  I think that’s three different guys.  We’re returning to our ridiculously common names theme again, aren’t we?  

Our Fred was not too bad.  He was up for nine years, getting over 20 homers in three of those.  His real nickname was “Wingy,” for a “less than powerful throwing arm.”  I’m not sure I get it.  “Bed Head” makes more sense than that.


Now we move onto the guys who came straight off the playing field – and maybe should have headed into the showers instead of over to the photographer.  Anyway, Chuck has at least had the decency to run a comb through that sweaty mess.  

It’s Chuck’s expression that I absolutely love here though.  I’ve seen that on guys who know you’ve pulled something over on them, but aren’t smart enough to know what exactly it was.  “Did you just call me ambidextrous?  Huh?  Is that what you called me?”

Though Stobbs was cited as “one of the greatest athletes ever to come out of Virginia” and is in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, his main claims to fame in the majors are leading the AL in losses, earned runs, and walks per nine innings, as well as giving up probably the longest home run in major league history (Mantle’s monster 565-foot shot that left Griffith Stadium in 1953).


No comb for Mike here. 

And wouldn’t you know … we’re back to our old way-too-common-name theme again.  Wikipedia lists 30 Mike Ryans, including a fencer, a hurler, a “British media hoaxer,” a chef, and a mass murderer.

Mike actually rose above backup catcher status for three of his nine years.  Not totally sure how that happened – his lifetime .193 average is the second lowest of all non-pitchers with at least 1000 at bats (numero uno is Ray Oyler, BTW).


You know, George, you could always just put on a cap.

George Brunet rivals Bob Miller in his ability to hang around the majors and pack and unpack his bags quickly.  Brunet was up for 15 years, with eight clubs.  He bounced around the minors quite a bit too, ending his career in Mexico at age 53.  He holds the all-time minor league record for strikeouts, 3,175.  

Another look at George right here.


It looks like Clay may have spent some serious time on his hair at one time.  Before the three-hour workout perhaps?  

Also, why do I just keep thinking Jack Nicholson?  In The Shining?

Clay Carroll was a pretty decent reliever.  He was up for 15 years and finished with 143 saves.  He set a then record for saves in one season, with 37 in 1972  He was a big part of the Big Red Machine and finished with an excellent 1.39 ERA in 22 postseason appearances for them.

Did George sleep out in the woods for a couple of days before this shot was taken?  In a pile of leaves?  In the rain?

Witt’s was a pretty short, uneventful career, lasting six years and totaling only 66 games.  That said, I was able to learn some rather interesting things about George on the Internets, including:
  • “He has also been a High School physical education instructor, a science teacher, and a baseball and tennis coach; as well as a former Foreign Study League group leader, leading high school students through a number of European foreign capitols comparing different governmental systems.”
  • “He opposed vivisection and was an ardent environmentalist.”

* - author has this card

And don’t forget to tune in next week, kids, and we’ll take a look at some guys with purdy hair – real purdy hair.

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