Monday, January 14, 2013

Haberdashery Horrors of the 1960s

In 1960, America celebrated the 100th anniversary of the baseball cap.  Yup, just 100 years before, the Brooklyn Excelsiors first wore something that looked, smelled, and quacked enough like our modern version to make it into the history books.  There were some changes over the years – lengthening the brim and making the structure more rigid, namely – but, basically, a classic was born.

It’s hard to mess up a classic, right?  Right?


Another fashionista opting for the baseball bonnet (vide Sam Jones, at the bottom).  This was actually a pretty popular look for the journeyman baseball player, the guy who never knew whose cap he would be wearing next year.  The sans chapeau look served the same purpose – but also looked a lot less goofy.

Frank had a pretty non-descript career, going 19-29 over a seven-year career.  His main claim to fame was leading the AL in wild pitches in 1968 with 17.

Turns out he was a huge fisherman after retiring from baseball.  In fact, most of the links to him I could find on Google talk about fishing instead of baseball.


“Hey, Gomer!”  “Hey, Goober!”

Barry Latman had a lot of promise, but ended up with a pretty average career.  Over 11 years and four teams, he put together a 59-68 record with a 3.91 record and 829 strikeouts. 

That was enough, though, to put him in the top ten among Jewish pitchers.  Yup, Larry’s Jewish.  Funny, I don’t recall a lot of Jews on the Andy Griffith Show ...

Jose’s hat angle is kind of the opposite of Frank’s and Barry’s.  Makes him look a lot cooler too, don’t you think?

A pretty darn good player, Jose Cardenal played 18 years for nine teams.  That equated to almost 7000 at bats, 2000 hits, and 1000 runs. 

That said, Jose seemed to be most famous for his malingering.  Some of his excuses included stuck eyelids and noisy crickets keeping him up all night.

I've got a whole post devoted to Jose - actually to Jose's hair - right here.

You call that a hat?  That’s not a hat!  Sheesh.

Alas, this was what graphic designers had to do before there was Photoshop.  Pretty hard to believe, huh?

Fritz Peterson was a decent pitcher for some woeful Yankee teams, but might be best remembered for swapping wives with teammate Mike Kekich.  And what could be more ‘60s than that?

Poor Danny.  He was home sick the day they gave out uniforms.  All they had left for hats were those XXLs.

Danny Cater was not a bad ballplayer.  He managed to stay in the majors for 12 years, totaling over 4000 at bats and 1200 hits.  Versatile, he played every position except catcher and short.

According to Jim Bouton in Ball Four, Cater could “figure out his batting average to four decimal places on his way down to first base.”

Ditto on the XXL.

Does Dave look familiar?  He had a slightly different pose in a post on goofy looks.  In that post, I shared some interesting bits of trivia about Dave.  I didn’t mention that he’s often confused with Don Stanhouse, who was also an AL pitcher of roughly the same talent and time period.

I dunna know.  Maybe big hats were just fashionable for a year or two back then.  Kinda like flat-brim caps or leaving the price tag on today.

Sammy had a pretty promising start to his career, leading the Reds in saves in his rookie year and then in wins as a sophomore.  An arm injury, though, caused his ERA to jump 1.50 and his winning percentage to be cut in half his junior year.  He struggled through a couple of more seasons, and that was pretty much that.

So, how about a couple of shots of Sammy looking a little under the weather?


Mickey Lolich was probably the most famous wearer of the ten-gallon-cap look.

A darn good pitcher, Lolich notched over 200 wins and was less than 200 strikeouts short of 3000.  He’s probably best know, though, for winning three games in the ’68 Series, outpitching Bob Gibson in Game 7 to bring the title home to the Motor City.


Bill actually couldn’t make it for photo day.  He sent his ten-year-old brother Bobby instead.

Hepler was an early Rule 5 guy.  The Mets took him from the Senators and kept him on their roster for all of 1966.  He didn’t’ do too badly, finishing with 3-3 record and a 3.52 ERA in 37 appearances.  He was up in the majors only that one year though.

Spell check really wants me to turn that last name into Helper, by the way.

* - author has this card

Looks like some dudes from the ‘50s were trying to get in on the celebration a little early.  Check ‘em out here


  1. Yeah! Yeah! Bill Helper! I like it! His nickname could be "Hamburger"!