Monday, September 24, 2012

Love Children

I’m not sure who started the whole love child thing.  No, I’m not referring to John Edwards or Arnold Schwarzenegger.  What I mean here is the uncanny resemblance of some celebrity to two other celebrities (typically of opposite genders).  Uncanny enough to imply some sort of genetic relationship. 

I’m guessing it was Spy magazine, that great – and totally forgotten – humor rag from the ‘80s.  I know they were the ones who came up with Separated at Birth.  They also had something called Celebrity Math (e.g., Fabio – Catherine Deneuve = Billy Ray Cyrus).  That’s pretty close.

Well, wherever it came from, I’ve looked at enough baseball cards over the years to come up with some of my own.  So, here they are, the love children of our national pastime …


Ken Heintzelman was a journeyman pitcher with a funny German name and a long, unattractive face.  Hank Sauer was a minor star (1952 NL MVP) with a funny German name; a long, unattractive face; and  a big schnozz.  Put ‘em together, and you get Bob Wilson, a journeyman catcher with a very boring last name; a long, unattractive face; and a big schnozz.  Too bad he couldn’t have been a Puffelbarger or something.


Mitt Romney is a famous Mormon who ran for president of the United States. Guy Smiley is a famous Muppet who played a TV game show host.  Put ‘em together and you get Al Cicotte, a not-so-famous major league ballplayer who pitched for six different teams over five seasons and whose nickname was “Bozo.” Yup, he is related to Black Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte.


Rush Limbaugh is an evil, right-wing blowhard.  David Berkowitz is an evil serial killer.  Put ‘em together and you get Smoky Burgess, an 18-year MLB veteran and one of the best pinch-hitters of all time.  I have no idea whether he was evil or not.  I sincerely doubt it though.

More Smoky here, here, and here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Case of the Disappearing Forehead

“Low brow.”  No, it’s not a beer.  It means unsophisticated, philistine, uncultured, redneck, guido...  It actually comes from the old science of phrenology, where a high brow was supposed to designate superiority and a low one inferiority.  My guess is it also readily brings up images of Neanderthals and ill-fitting hairpieces.

Suffice it to say, it’s not the best look.  I’m sure all of these guys became professors of phenomenology or computational linguistics at major universities after they retired from baseball.  But I still have to wonder … just a little.

Not too bad.  Though it does look like a toupee affixed with Krazy Glue, or maybe heavy-duty staples.

Elmer Valo was one of three Czechs who played in MLB.  If you think Elmer’s an unfortunate name, do appreciate the fact that his birth name was Imrich.

Pretty good player.  Valo was up for 20 years and finished with an incredbile .393 OBP.  He also happened to be on three teams that moved – the Philadelphia / Kansas City A’s, Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Washington Senators / Minnesota Twins.  I’m not saying it had anything to do with Elmer, of course.

Dick’s nickname was “The Monster.” At 6’5” and 235 lbs. and with solid caveman looks, he certainly looks the part.

Dick Radatz was the model for the Goose Gossages, Rod Becks, and other here-hit-it closers of the modern era.  He was twice AL Fireman of the Year, All Star, and league leader in saves.  Overall, he had more strikeouts than innings – 745 to 694.  As a Red Sox fan, I also particularly enjoy the fact that he struck out Mickey Mantle 44 of the 63 times he faced him.

He might look a tad like a serial killer (the googly eye sure helps), but Billy Klaus actually had a pretty decent career.  He was up for 11 seasons, getting in over 2500 at-bats, though primarily known for his defense.  He was almost Rookie of the Year in 1955, coming in second to some guy named Herb Score.

Yup, those beetling brows are for real.  Nope, the photographer didn’t simply catch Billy on a bad day. 


This may be as close as you get before hair and eyebrows actually join together.

Signed by the Senators, Dan Dobbek was supposedly a “potential power hitter in the mold of Harmon Killebrew.”  When they moved to Minnesota, he was touted “as the second coming of slugger Bob Allison.”  Unfortunately, all it ever amounted to was three seasons, 433 at-bats, and a .208 average.  Dan did tie a major league record, however, when he received three intentional bases-on-balls in one game.  Not totally sure how that actually came about myself, but ...


The high top fade is not a bad idea.  Kinda elongates Dan’s otherwise miniscule forehead.  And years before “Vanilla Ice.”


I couldn’t decide whether to put Alex under Disappearing Foreheads or something about bad hairdos.  A little dab certainly did Alex, didn’t it?

You’ve seen Alex before, but with his hat on.  To be honest, I'm thinking that‘s a better look, guy.

* - author has this card

Too bad none of our guys had a unibrow.  The caveman look would have then been complete.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Love To See You Smile

So, we’ve seen what happens to ballplayers who don’t take care of their teeth.  Now let’s take a look at some who spent entirely too much time in the dentist’s chair.  It’s either that or the illustrators retouching their photos went a tad overboard. 

Anyway, shield your eyes, grab those armrests, open wide (those eyes) and let’s take a look at some pretty serious pearly whites …

I associate this Hall of Famer with home runs (he led the NL seven straight years) and malapropisms (see here for a great list), not with such dazzling dentition.  

Holy sodium fluoride!  Looks like Willie went to the same dentist. 

Willie Crawford played for 14 seasons, all but two with the Dodgers.  A bonus baby, Crawford never really lived up to his potential.  He never managed 500 at bats in a season, or 100 homers for his career.


More like “Don Demented,” if you ask me.  This is actually a pretty nice portrait of Don.  He was a rather strange looking dude.  You’ll be seeing more of him, I guarantee.

Don Demeter was not a bad ballplayer.  He was up in the bigs for 11 seasons, hitting 20 or more homers four times.  His best year was 1962, when he batted .307, with 29 homers and 107 RBIs.

So, how about another look at ol' Don?

I tried to make my mouth do this, but I just couldn’t.   That’s quite a talent Eddie’s got – being able to show your molars when you crack a smile.

Eddie Robinson's one of those baseball lifers.  Overall, he's been in baseball 65 years, and played or worked for all of the original AL teams.  Check out his book right here.

It’s not easy showing this expanse of ivory and still making it look like you’re not really smiling.

A pretty non-descript hurler (150 innings over six seasons), Phil Paine was actually the first American to play in Japan.  He pitched nine games for the Nishitetsu Lions in 1953 while over there on military service.  Great bio of him right here.

* - author has this card

The title?  It's from an REM song.