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?


  1. The '70s did have some awesomely bad specs. I think the '75 May would have to be my favorite out of this bunch.

  2. Jim Breazeale's glasses take your attention away from his awesome sideburns!

  3. The glasses, the sideburns, the awful mid-70s Braves cap - it's a lame-o trifecta!