Monday, November 25, 2013

Chunky, Dark and Nerdy

You’re about 15 years out of date at this point. That’s not gonna stop you, though, is it? And if you just keep at it for another 40 years or so, you’ll actually be in style. So, here’s a salute to the unknowing hipsters of the 1960s.

No, only the stems are black, but still …

Cookie Rojas is probably pretty familiar to you by now. I previously flagged him for his specs no less than two times, but also for a seriously bad paint job. I’m thinking I’ve said pretty much there is to say about this guy already.

I do like the sideburns though.


Robert John?  It’s an autograph, Bob.  You’re not buying a house here, okay?

Bob Spence was the fourth pick in the 1967 draft. It took him a couple of years in the minors before he made his debut with the Chisox in ’69. But then … 

Well, actually, not a whole lot. Poor Bob appeared for three years in the majors, finishing with under 200 at bats and with an average barely over .200. This was his only card. 

I always get this guy confused with Tim Tommermann.

Tom Timmerman had one good year, 1970, when he was the Tigers closer and finished third in the league in saves. He was also a starter for three of his six years, but couldn’t break double figures in wins. Overall, he finished dead even, at 35-35, with an ERA just a little south of 4.00.

There are a surprising number of Tom Timmermans out there – a boxer, a professor, a sports writer, an HVAC repairman, the Chief Procurement and Technical office at Autobar … Couldn’t find any Tim Tommermans though.

The ol’ guys could be hip too, you know.

You can’t tell on this one, but Clyde King is cross-eyed. I kid you not. Of course I made fun of him for that. Here, check out this player card of his from the 1950s.

The playing career was pretty brief. After that, though, Clyde was very busy as scout, coach, manager, GM, and author. Yup, Clyde wrote a book!

Nobody worked ‘em like ol’ Dave here. If you don’t believe me, check out this full frontal shot from the ‘60s. Just make sure no children are around when you do so, okay?

I covered Dave’s career in that post, so let me introduce you to another side of Dave Ricketts you may not be familiar with:
  • He and his brother played hoops together in college, winning the NIT (the then equivalent of the NCAA)
  • Dick, the brother, later played in the NBA
  • Dave, meanwhile, set a then record for consecutive free throws made
Hmm … Maybe Dave shoulda stuck with the big orange ball.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hey Four Eyes! (70s Version)

Whoa! It’s the Seventies. Things are starting to get a little groovy. Even when it comes to glasses, something which by nature makes everyone look a little dorky. Here, let me show you what I mean …

Well, I guess we gotta start out with some stragglers, don’t we? Looks like this guy probably hasn’t changed his look since the Truman administration.

Cookie Rojas is a repeat offender in this blog. I’ve already got him down for bad specs once and for having his card painted instead of using a photo. Not much to say about ol’ Cookie that I didn’t already mention there.

Here, though, is a great bio of him on a 100 Greatest Royals of All Time website. He came in 29th, by the way.

Sonny and Cookie …  They were a team!

Roland “Sonny” Jackson was – kind of like Cookie – a surprisingly decent ballplayer. He was up for 12 years, managing to total over 3,000 at bats in that time. 

His rookie year, with the Houston Colt .45s, was probably his best. He came in second in Rookie of the Year voting, stole a then-rookie-record 49 bases, and hit .292.

Unfortunately, Sonny had a couple of things going against him. Being 5’9” and 150 lbs. certainly didn’t help (he hit only seven homers over his career). And neither did leading the league in errors two years.  After hanging up his spikes, Sonny was a minor-league manager and major-league coach.  

By the way, I think the shiny shirt really complements the chunky glasses. Not everyone can pull that off, you know.


Ray too!

Ray Sadecki's a repeat offender in this blog. Click here if you'd like to see more of those over-sized ears. Click here if you'd like to see the Topps photographer play a trick on him.

Dave Hilton, welcome to the club!

What? The Pads played in Washington? 

Actually, they did not, but the rumors of a move were strong enough for Topps to issues these cards. The company later corrected themselves by printing SD cards. The DC cards are worth about three times as much as the SD ones.

Dave Hilton played four seasons for San Diego and three seasons in Japan. While in the Land of the Rising Sun, he was – according to Wikipedia – “credited by famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami as having inspired him, at the age of 29, to become an author. Murakami had his epiphany as he saw Hilton hit a double, while watching a Yakult Swallows game in Japan.” 

Wikipedia goes on to describe Murikami’s work as “often surrealistic and nihilistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of themes of loneliness and alienation.” Hmm … So, what was it about that two-bagger anyway?

Okay, now we’re getting groovy. If indeed you can call these things groovy.

Fred Gladding is another repeat offender. I flagged him previously for bad specs as well (surprise!). Not a lot to add to what I shared in that post, but here are a couple other bits of trivia I was able to find on ol’ Fred:
  • He was once traded straight-up for future Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews (a very old Eddie Mathews)
  • He was a man of many nicknames, including “Fred Flinstone” and “the Bear”
  • He threw a no-hitter in the minors, something mentioned in the little cartoon on the back of no less than four of his cards

Fred, is that you?

Roger Nelson is the director of the Global Consciousness Project, an international, multi-laboratory collaboration founded in 1997 … Wait a minute, wrong guy. Okay, Roger Nelson was a skydiver and founder of Skydive Chicago, the nation's largest skydiver training center … Dang, wrong again.

Actually, Roger Nelson may have been all those things, but what we’re really interested in here is his baseball stats.  And those aren’t all that bad. Roger was up for nine years, threw 600-plus innings, and finished with a respectable 3.06 ERA and 1.109 WHIP. His best year was 1972, when he went 12-6 with a 2.08 ERA and led the AL in WHIP (with an .871 mark).

Roger was a man of one nickname however – “Spider.”

Extra points for the psychedelic logo.  And signature.

Okay, one more guy who’s been here before. In that post, Rudy showed us some dance moves, shared a few stats, and offered to go golfing with us for a mere $1,500. Now, what else is there to say?

So, here’s another good bio on another top 100 site. This one is for the Yankees, and has Rudy coming in at 89 (and beating out Jack Warhop, Birdie Cree, and George Pipgrass).

Oooh, aviators!

Craig Robinson is an American actor, stand-up comedian, and singer. He is best known for his role as Darryl Philbin on The Office …  No, no, no – wrong dude. Let’s try again …  Craig Robinson is the older brother of Michelle Obama and currently head coach of the Oregon State …  Damn!

Okay, okay. Our Craig Robinson is a white guy, a baseball player, and not a terribly good one at that. Over six years, he got a little over 700 at bats, batted .219, and hit nary a home run. Nary!

For some reason, the Braves made him a regular in 1974. And that one year accounts for 63% of his career at bats, 65% of his runs, 66% of his hits, 69% of his RBIs, and 92% of his steals.

Aviators – the kind that go halfway down your face.

Al Cowens was another pretty decent player who nobody remembers any more. He was up for 13 years, got over 5,500 at bats, and has similarity scores akin to those of Jimmie Piersall, Brian McRae, Bill Virdon, and Coco Crisp. He had one incredible year, 1977, where he played in every game, hit 23 homers and 112 RBIs, batted .312, won a Gold Glove, and came in second in MVP voting.

If anybody remembers Cowens these days, though, it’s probably for a well-known incident with pitcher Ed Farmer. It all started with Farmer hitting Cowens and breaking his jaw and several teeth. The following year, Cowens faced Farmer again, hitting a grounder to one of the infielders. Instead of running to first, though, Cowens went straight for Farmer, who had turned to watch the play. He got in several good licks before being pulled off. Here’s a whole post on the thing.

Wow! Those are truly impressive.

Jim Breazeale was a first round draft pick of the Braves. They stuck with him for three years and a little over 100 at bats. After they gave up on him, the White Sox, gave him another 70. Overall: 179 at bats, .223 average, nine dingers, 

The back of this card says Jim was the "backup 1st baseman to Hank Aaron." Hey, good luck with that, kid!

O … M … G …

According to Wikipedia, Mark Lee is a musician, an author, a soccer player, an astronaut, a football player, a sportscaster, and also a pitcher (and one who throws both lefty and righty).

Alright, alright. This guy is the right-hander. He was up for four years, with the Padres and Pirates. Similar players include Jensen Lewis, Gene Pentz, and Walt Huntziger. Mark’s still hanging on today, managing for the Independent League Amarillo Sox.

Mark, is that you?

* - author has this card

Need more specs? How about some from the '50s and '60s?

Friday, November 1, 2013


Recently, we’ve had some posts featuring some rather unusual expressions, including the just plain odd as well as the seriously pissed off. We also had one on strange and unusual eyes.  

Put ‘em all together, and you get this post. Basically, it’s a bunch of guys using their eyes to express things. Things like, “I just saw a ghost,” or “nice melons,” or “I want to kill you,” or “The worms have eaten my brain.”

Saw a ghost 1.

Not a whole lot out there on Rich Coggins. Now, that may well be because Rich was up for only a few years. In those years, though, he did pretty well. He had two years where he was a regular, batting .319 in one and stealing 26 bases in another.

Classic case of thyroid trouble, I’m afraid. Yup, where other guys tear their rotator cuff or ACL, Rich just had to be different that way. Seriously, though, playing major league baseball is hard enough.  I can’t imagine doing it with thyroid issues.

Something just occurred to me though …  I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), but wouldn’t hyperthyroidism explain this poor guy’s bug eyes?

Saw a ghost 2. Though I may have had the same reaction too if I had been traded to the Bronx Zoo.

Mickey Rivers was a pretty decent ballplayer. He combined a good bat, a great glove, and blinding speed. Over 15 years, he hit .295, led the league twice in triples, and once stole 70 bases.  He was a post-season star as well, getting in 29 games with the Yankees and batting .308.

Mickey Rivers was also a major league character. I think we can all remember his mannerisms, his big smile, and his crazy quotes, which seemed to combine the best (worst?) of Yogi Berra and Satchell Paige. Here are a couple of my favorites: 

  • “We'll do all right if we can capitalize on our mistakes.”
  • “I might have to commute.  You know, left field, DH, wherever.”
  • “Pitching is 80% of the game and the other half is hitting and fielding.”
  • “Ain't no sense worrying. If you have no control over something, ain't no sense worrying about it – you have no control over it anyway. If you do have control, why worry? So either way, there ain't no sense worrying.”

He was also a man of many nicknames, including Mick the Quick, Gozzlehead, Warplehead, Rambling, Gulfstream, The Miami Greyhound, Muddy, The Weatherman, The Chancellor, and The Almighty Tired Man.

I got those from this website. In fact, I found several sites devoted to him. You can find the official one right here.

Watch out, ghost!  Curt’s going to swat you with his bat!

Curt Motton was up for eight years but almost exclusively as a backup and pinch hitter. Over those eight years, he only got more than 100 at bats once. That said, in his 500-some career at bats, he was able to swat 25 homers and drive in 89 runs.  

He sounds like a genuinely nice guy, who everyone knew as “Cuz.” Incredibly detailed bio right here.

Bizarre trivia fact: Curt played on a US Army team, the Alaska Goldpanners, with Rick Monday, Greg Nettles, and Tom Seaver.

Just saw a snake 1.

Al Bumbry was a Rookie of the Year and an All Star as well. He was known in particular for his speed, chasing down fly balls for the O's in center field and finishing his career with over 250 bases.

Al's nickname was "Bee," which I personally think is pure genius.

Continuing our military theme from Curt, above, would you believe that Al was ROTC in college, served 2 years in Vietnam, and earned a Bronze Star there?

Whoa, Kurt. Tone it down a little, would ya?

Like our other Curt, Kurt Bevacqua was primarily a pinch hitter and backup. Kurt with a “k” was able to string out his limited talents a lot longer than Curt with a “c” however. Bevacqua was up for 15 years and 2100 at bats. All that amounted to, unfortunately, was a mere 27 homers and a lowly .237 average.

Kurt is, though, remembered for his efforts in one of San Diego’s only two World Series appearances.  Though they lost to the Tigers 4 games to 1, Kurt batted .412, with two homers, four RBIs, and four runs.  

Bizzare trivia fact:  Kurt’s surname means “water drinker” in Italian.

“Whoa, check out that ball girl!”

Mickey Scott is kind of the pitching equivalent of Rich Coggins or Curt Motton. I’m talking about five years, 172 innings, an 8-7 record, and a mere four saves. 

Classic case of lefthandedness, I’m afraid. Yup, this is the guy they brought in to face that one batter in the eighth. As a matter of fact, those 172 innings were over 130 games. And not one of those 130 was a start.

Bizarre trivia fact: Mickey was born in East Germany.

“Must kill.  Must kill now.”

Bert “Campy” Campaneris was one of my favorites as a kid. I have no idea why.

He was a pretty accomplished ballplayer. Over 18 years (mostly with the A’s), he led his league in steals six times, at bats twice, and hits and triples once. He was also a six-time All Star.

It might, though, have been all the interesting other things he did over those years, things that often ended up on the back of his cards, things like:

  • Pitching a game throwing both righty and lefty
  • Playing every position in one game
  • Hitting a home run off the very first pitch thrown to him

I always thought that beat something like “Bob enjoys hunting and fishing in the offseason” or “Skip led the Adirondacks League in putouts in 1953.”

Looks like somebody caught Ed ogling as well.

Actually, somebody caught Ed Bouchee doing a lot more than ogling. After an excellent rookie season (including winning the NL RoY award), Ed was convicted on indecent exposure charges in the offseason. He ended up playing five more years, but things were never quite the same, as you can imagine. 

Hmm, same creepy look ...