Monday, April 29, 2013

Expressions of Weirdness (the Early Years)

All you have to do is click the camera.  And whatever expression happens to be on your subject’s face is forever frozen in time.  Eyes closed?  We got you covered.  Dopey expression?  All over it.  There are no shortage of odd looks – in this blog and in real life.

Personally, I seem to account for something weird about 37% of the time.  Just point a camera my way.  I can almost guarantee you the results will be much less than you expected.

One, two, three, smile!

Somehow, Orlando Pena managed to pitch in three decades, from 1958 to 1975.  I say “somehow” as Pena finished under .500, with a 3.71 ERA, and once lost 20 games.  He played for eight teams and wore 16 different uniform and number combinations.

Pena was born in Victoria de las Tunas, Cuba.  My Spanish is not too hot, but I’m assuming that means “victory of the tunas.” 


Okay, here we go, Diego – big smile!

Diego Segui had a career very similar to fellow Cuban Orlando Pena’s.  I’m talking 15 years, .453 winning percentage, leading the league in losses, and playing for six different teams.

He’s also one of the few players to play for both of Seattle’s teams, the Pilots and Mariners.  He’s the father of David Segui.

Hey, Diego made my first post as well!



I already discussed Zoilo Versalles’s unlikely MVP season elsewhere.  Seems ol’ Zoilo was also famous for being one of the bigger flops in MLB history.

Turns out he was only 25 that MVP year, and had already been a two-time All Star.  So, his star seemed to be definitely on the rise.

The year after the MVP season, though, Zoilo dropped 24 points in average, and cut his hits and RBIs in half and his steals by two-thirds.  The year after that, his on-base percentage dropped to .249, even though he played in 160 games.  And the year after that, he was under the Mendoza Line, with a measly two homers – and all in 122 games.

And after that, …  Well, major league baseball teams weren’t so keen to give him any more at bats.  Except for a desperate cup of coffee with the Braves, he was effectively out of the majors before he turned 30.



You’ve met Donn Clendenon before, where I talked about his intellectual abilities.  On the baseball side, he was up for 12 years, playing mostly with the Pirates and Mets.  His best year was 1966, with the Bucs, when he hit .299, with 28 homers and 98 RBIs.  He was actually the World Series MVP with the Amazin’ Mets ’in 69.

Here's another weird one from Donn.

Oh, never mind.

Another Orlando, Orlando McFarlane was also from Cuba.  A backup catcher, this Orlando was up for four forgettable years, with three different teams.  Lifetime, he managed under 300 at bats, though he did hit five home runs.

Wow, how do you make your eyebrow do that?

There are 16 Bill Whites out there on Wikipedia, including three baseball players.  Our Bill White was the best of the bunch, finishing with a .286 average, 202 homers, 870 RBIs, and seven Gold Gloves. 

Bill was also an announcer, calling Bucky Dent’s famous homer against the BoSox in ’78.  From 1989 to 1994, he served as President of the National League.  White has an autobiography entitled Uppity.  He currently resides in the fascinatingly named Pennsylvania town of Upper Black Eddy.

Aw, sad little puppy eyes.

Vic Davalillo was not a bad player.  He was in the majors for 16 years, sticking around as one of baseball’s best pinch hitters.  In fact, he tied the then-record for pinch hits in a season, with 24 in 1970.  He’s the younger brother of Yo-Yo.  That’s Davalillo, by the way, not Ma.  (More Vic here and here.)

Searching the heavens …

Jesse Gonder was a decent hitter who was stuck behind Yogi Berra and Elston Howard in the Yankees organization, and eventually ended up with the hapless early Mets.  With them, he had his only full season – 131 games, .270 average, seven homers.  He also was a league leader that year ...  in passed balls.

Invoking divine grace …

Pat Corrales played for nine years and managed for nine.  Some managing firsts for Pat (okay, and one fourth):
  • First Mexican-American manager
  • First manager fired with a winning record
  • Fourth manager to manage in both leagues in the same year

Playing highlights include … um, er … carrying Johnny Bench’s jockstrap? One at bat and one out in a World Series?

* - author has this card

More weirdness right here.


  1. Bill White was pretty solid in his day, I got mad respect for him my dad saw him and a bunch of Cardinals play. Love the blog btw I just started following check mine out feel free to join the site.

  2. Not only was Corrales fired by the Phillies with a winning record, but the team was in FIRST PLACE! If only Chollie Manuel would be given the same short leash.

  3. That '69 picture of Versailles was so good that Topps reused it the next year (just swap out Padres, put in Senators). Looks like he was going for MV5OS. (Most Valuable 5 O'Clock Shadow).

    1. Nah, I think the guys at Topps were just too damn cheap. There's a particularly good recycled photo of Art Ceccarelli. You can just search on his name or go to 2011 > October > Are You Sure You're a Ballplayer.

  4. Orlando McFarlane had one of my favorite mixed-ethnic MLB names ... along with Juan Eichelberger.

  5. My favorite has got to be Biff Pocoroba. I've got him covered under my funny name post for the 70s.