Monday, June 17, 2013

Just Plain Weird: A '60s Miscellany

Hmm …  I’m looking through the past year’s posts, and I don’t seem to be able to find one on guys with big chins.  Guys with their flies open?  Nope.  How about guys with one arm?  Hmm, not that one either.

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to put these ones in their own little grab bag then.  Enjoy!

Well, this looks pretty straightforward.  So, what’s the problem?

Well, as it just so happens, this is actually not Aurelio Rodriguez.  In fact, this is the batboy.  The two did a swap on a dare from Aurelio’s teammates.

Aurelio Rodriguez was up for 17 years, getting in over 2000 games.  He was known primarily for his defense.  He got a Gold Glove in 1976 (when Brooks Robinson was still around!), and was a ten-time league leader in defensive categories like putouts, assists, fielding percentage, and some weird Sabermetric stuff.

Sadly, Rodriguez died at the very young age of 52 when he was hit by a car that drove up on the sidewalk where he was walking.


Another case of mistaken identity. This is actually, not Dick Ellsworth, but Ken Hobbs. The two do look alike, but actually have different eye color.

Dick Ellsworth was up for 13 years, mostly with the Cubbies. He won 20 for them one year, and lost 20 for them in another. He was also an All Star one year, in 1964, though he finished the year with a losing record and led the league in hits, earned runs, and homers.

Ken Hubbs was Rookie of the Year in 1962, also earning a Gold Glove. He died only a couple of years later, in a plane crash, at age 22. 

So, what that means is that Hubbs' death was a couple of years before this Ellsworth card came out. In other words, somebody at Topps really screwed up.

Ah, the old hidden ball trick.

You’ve met Tommy John before, where he was a little off-center.   There, I made an argument for his inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

Here are a couple of other tidbits about Tommy:

  • He is the only person in MLB history to make three errors on one play
  • His kids are named Tommy, Tammy, Travis, and Taylor
  • He is a Sagamore of the Wabash (the highest honor the governor of Indiana can bestow)
  • He lives near me – in beautiful Charlotte, NC!

This guy, on the other hand, looks like he has just remembered - as he goes into his windup - that he has forgotten something rather important. Or perhaps he's just stretching.

You've met John Boozer before. I forgot to mention his stats on that post, though - honestly - there's really not all that much to write home about: seven years, 14-16 record, 4.09 ERA.

It’s a left to the kisser!  (Mike hated the press. Yup, even the guys from Topps.)

Mike McCormick is a three-decade player, coming up with the NY Giants in 1956, and bowing out with the KC Royals in 1971.  In those 16 years, Mike won an ERA title and a Cy Young Award.  He was also a two-time All Star (but, interestingly, not in his Cy Young year).


So, do you think the photographer did this on purpose?  I mean, that would be pretty darn clever, wouldn't it?  (Hint: look over to the left.)

Ray Sadecki's biggest claim to fame may very well be having been inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.  And I should know.  I was there!  I saw his jersey!!  (I also had some wonderful golabki, pierogis, and city chicken at Wawel, the restaurant attached to it and to the Polish-American Cultural Center, of which the Hall is a part.)


Carl “The Chin” Willey has been featured several times in this blog.  Elsewhere, I have made fun of his expression and his teeth.

Not sure what else there is to say about ol’ Carlton.  A couple of things I didn’t mention before:

  • Carl actually led the NL in shutouts in 1958 – as a rookie!
  • In his one World Series experience, he struck out two of three Yankees he faced
  • Upon retirement, he was a scout for the Phillies
  • He also worked as parole officer, managed a blueberry-freezing plant, and raised Christmas trees


You’ve heard of Pete Grey, right?  That was nuthin’.  Bill Henry here was a pitcher!

Bill “Gabby” Henry punctuated his 16 years in the bigs with two league “crowns”, appearances in ‘59 and oldest player in ‘68.  He also compiled 90 saves overall.

Bill also had the rather unique experience of reading his own obituary.  Turns out some other Bill Henry, of roughly the same age and appearance, passed himself off as our Bill.  When the counterfeit Bill died, the national press got ahold of that obit and ran with it – prompting our Bill to announce, in the spirit of Mark Twain, that the rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated.  Complete details right here.

Bob Uecker is having a little fun with you here. You may not be familiar enough with him, though, to realize that he's a rightie. Yup, he posed from the other side just for fun.

Now, we all know Bob from his work as a comedian. Ever wonder what his actual major league stats were? Well, it ain't pretty. I'm talking six years, four teams, 700 at bats, and a .200 average.

Look closely.  Yes, his fly is open.  Nope, he hasn’t a clue.

Claude “Frenchy” Raymond had a career very similar to Bill Henry’s.  Like Henry, Raymond was a decent reliever who managed to stick around for a few years and compile almost 100 saves.  No league “crowns” for Claude, but he was an All Star once. 

As far as I can tell, Raymond was not a victim of identity theft however.  Post-playing-day highlights for Claude including announcing Expos games (in French and English), coaching for them, and announcing baseball for the Atlanta Olympics (seulement en francais).


Well, I guess he did have a clue.  Another dare from the teammates?

* - author has this card

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