Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Before There Was Dentistry (‘60s Version)

My younger son was born without lateral incisors, on either side. It’s actually some genetic defect that I can blame my wife’s side of the family for. 

Poor guy. It’s an endless round of dentists, orthodontists, retainers, fake teeth – and lots of big bills for dad, too. It also gives him an unfortunate look that belies his incredible smarts.

So, I can definitely feel for these guys here. That said, I think I can still step up the plate and be my ol’ snarky self.  I’m a real gamer that way. Never say die – that’s me, alright.

“Unnhh, what’s up Doc?”

I always remembered Pete Ward as the starting third baseman for the Chisox in the ‘60s, as well as a pretty decent ballplayer. In fact, he was in the top ten in MVP voting for two of those years, ’63 and ’64.

Looks like things didn't change much for Pete in the '70s, unfortunately.

More Bugs.

You met George before, where we made fun of his hair.

One thing I didn’t mention there was that George was quite the character.  He plays a major role in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four.  In fact, he’s the guy who never wore underwear. 

And here's another shot of ol' George - this time, looking a tad hungover.


They called him “the Count.”

Though shown as a Dodger, Phil Ortega actually made his mark with the Washington Senators.  In fact, he was something of their ace (if, indeed “ace” and “Washington Senators” can be used in the same sentence). 

The Dodgers tried to sell him as the Great Latino Hope, to their growing Spanish-speaking audience.  Turns out he was a Yaqui Indian from Arizona who didn’t even speak Spanish.

His teammates actually called him “Chief” and “Kemo” (after “Kemosabe”)  Things were real PC back then.

Hank was so proud of his new teeth.

Hank Aguirre was up for 16 years, with one really great year.  In 1962, he led the AL in ERA and WHIP, and represented Detroit in the midsummer classic.

Hank may well have been one of the worst hitters ever.  He finished with an .085 average and went 0 for the season in ’55, ’57, ’59, ’61, 68, and ’70.

Check out a much younger looking Hank right here.

Joe, meanwhile, forgot to put his in that day.

You might have heard of Joe Niekro’s brother, Phil.  Turns out Joe had a pretty decent career himself.  He was up for 22 years and recorded 221 wins.

He’s most famous, though, for getting caught on the mound with an emery board in his back pocket.  See the whole thing right here.

Word had it Johnny could spit a watermelon seed 30 feet through those things.

You’ve seen Johnny before, where I discussed his heroics – and his later swift downfall – with the Yankee powerhouses of the mid ‘50s.  But did you know he was the last pitcher to face Jackie Robinson – and that he struck him out!?


And Carlton could spit a small watermelon through his.

Carlton Willey’s career was as ugly as his dentition.  I’m talking a 38-58 record, for a .win-loss percentage under .400.  Pitching for the early ‘60s Mets for three years certainly didn’t help things any.

I'm kinda thinking Carlton should have had his own post. Here he is looking goofy and with an oddly elongated chin. Truly, a man of many talents.

* - author has this card

Oh, and let’s not forget these teeth from the ‘50s.

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