Saturday, December 27, 2014

A '70s Miscellany - "Action Shots"

Lemme tell ya, there’s a lotta leftover stuff at the end of a decade. In fact, there were so many leftovers for the ‘70s that I had to create three whole posts. Last week, we concentrated on head shots. This week … "action"!


Let go, Paul!  Let go!

Paul Lindblad’s been here before, looking like a school art project gone bad. I shared his stats there, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that Paul once set a record by going nine years (385 games) without making an error.


Let go, Catfish … er, I mean, Jim … Let go!

Everybody knows this guy. I’ll bet you didn’t know, though, that:

  • His middle name was Augustus
  • He was the youngest of eight children
  • He lost a toe in a hunting accident as a teen
  • His nickname was solely an invention of Charlie Finley’s
  • He never played in the minors
  • Bob Dylan wrote a song about him

Click here for a shot of Catfish looking a little different at the very beginning of his career.


Oh my God!  It’s like the ball is coming right at me. Duck!

Tom House is another repeat offender – and quite an interesting guy. Check out this link, and this link, to learn more about his stats, coaching career, Phd, and many publications.


Byron, over here!  Look at the camera.  Byron!

Well, when you’ve got a blog with 164 posts, I guess everybody’s going to be a repeat, aren’t they? So, if you’d like to see a shot of Byron smiling at the camera – but still managing somehow to avoid eye contact – well then, click right here.


“Pow!  Take that.  I’m talkin’ to you, Mr. Pitcher.”

Another blogger took 1,700 words to speculate on Dick’s pose, finally coming to the conclusion that Dick is fly fishing! Dick himself then weighs in. Don’t miss it! Click right here.

Amazingly, Dick Sharon has not been in this blog before. 




“I don’t need no stinkin’ cap.  C’mon, hit me a pop up!”

Graig Nettles was not a bad third baseman. Over 22 years, he totaled 390 homers, 1314 RBIs, 1193 runs, and 2225 hits. He was a six-time All Star and a two-time Gold Glover as well.

He also has never appeared before in this particular blog!


Skip was a big KISS fan.  At home, he liked to paint his face with eye black and pretend he was one of the band.

A backup catcher, Skip Jutze managed to stick in the bigs for six years somehow. All that ever amounted to, though, was a .215 average and three homers in 656 at bats. Like Dick Sharon, Skip was Jewish.


No mistaking what Gene’s up to here.  “Have a seat, son.  I mean you!”

I’ve listed Gene Mauch’s not unimpressive managerial stats elsewhere in this blog. Few people know it, but Gene was a player as well. He was nowhere near as accomplished however. As a player, Gene bounced around for nine years, getting only 737 at bats and five homers, and finishing with a .237 average.


One away?  Or is Walter remembering an old tune from the ‘20s?  "Ink, a dink, a dink, a dink doo …"

Walt Alston is kind of like Gene Mauch on steroids. Here, let me explain …

Alston’s managerial career is legendary. I’m talking 23 years (all at the helm of the Dodgers), 2000 wins, seven pennants, four World Series titles, and a spot at Cooperstown.

As for his playing career? He was up once. Once! Not only that, but he struck out! Honestly, I can’t make this stuff up.


Continuing our finger theme, I do believe (look closely).

Another player/manager, Billy Martin was actually pretty decent at both. As a player, he was up for 11 years, about eight of those as a starter, and including one as an All Star. He was a better manager. Over 16 years, he finished 1253-1013, with two pennants and one World Series title. Oh, he was also a major a$$hole.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Just Plain Weird: A '70s Miscellany

“One of a kind” is usually a good thing, right? But, then again, not all the time. I mean, like with these guys here …


The original player to be named later, Harry’s been in this blog before, but as Eric (here and here). Yup, he legally changed his name after the 1976 season. I have no idea why.

Now, it is true that his ’76 season was something that might make you want to change your identity (6-12 record), but it honestly really wasn’t all that different from the rest of his career. I’d love to know the story on this one.


Carl, you’re supposed to put the lipstick on both lips. Yeah, the upper one too.

Carl Taylor has also been here before. I shared his stats in that post, but didn’t mention this great story about how he left baseball ...

Well, it just so happened that, while playing for the Royals in Baltimore, Taylor took himself out of the game, told manager Bob Lemon “I quit,” then burnt his uniform and baseball equipment in the locker room before going AWOL.

And who hasn’t dreamed of doing just that?



Nice tan, Moe.  Did you fall asleep at the pool again?  After that fifth margarita?  Don’t you hate when that happens?

Moe is one of only 4 major leaguers who were born in Poland. Nap Kloza, Henry Peploski, and Johnny Redder were no Moe Drabowsky however. Moe was up in the bigs for 17 years to their 4, and was in 589 games to their 45.

Primarily a setup man, Moe bounced around quite a bit, playing with 8 different teams. His other main claim to fame is being one of only 4 players who played with both the Kansas City A's and the Kansas City Royals.

Moe was a big-time character. Some of his many antics include:

  • Giving a hotfoot to Bowie Kuhn
  • Getting wheeled to 1st base in after being hit by a pitch
  • Faking a call to the opponent team's bullpen and getting a reliever to start warming up


You’ve heard of Walt “No Neck” Williams, right?  Well, Tom was known as “Cold Neck.”  Tom “Cold Neck” Murphy.  I am not making this up. 


Alright, I’m making this up.


"Sign program? Catch pop up? Sign program? Catch pop up?"

Everybody knows this guy. The great name. The monster blasts. The 573 homers. The bald pate.

I’ll bet you didn’t know, though, that:

  • He was under 6’ tall
  • He was a high-school All-American quarterback
  • His dad was a college All-American in football as well
  • He was the youngest player in the majors when called up
  • He was the first player elected to the All Star game from three different positions (3B, OF & 1B)
  • He is the only Idahoan ever elected to the Hall of Fame (and only one of 28 Idahoans to even play)
  • He was a Mormon

He's also known as one of the nicest guys to ever play the game.


I believe someone might have painted this one.

Well, we’ve got our choices for this guy. According to Wikipedia, he could be:

  • “A superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics and acts as a sidekick to the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Rom the Spaceknight, and Captain Marvel”
  • A Michigan state senator
  • “Author of the Vatican Knights series and Tombs of Eden!”
  • “The proprietor of the largest, coolest used piano store on Earth!”
  • The previous head coach of the Tulane Green Wave baseball team
  • A left-handed pitcher who was up for 3 years in the late ‘70s, finishing with a 6-9 record and a 4.02 ERA

Yeah, it's the last one. He’s the last one.


Jewelry violation! Jewelry violation! This obviously isn’t something that comes up in the majors, but when I was coaching youth baseball (as well as playing co-rec softball), there was such a thing as a jewelry violation. This is when some necklace, on male or female, threatened to put the health and safety of both teams at risk. I was never sure how that would actually come about, but hey …

BTW, George used to say this necklace was made out of the teeth of second basemen.

More George right here.


And everyone wondered why this particular idea wasn’t repeated the next year …

In addition to being a world-famous accordion player, Jim Fregosi was also a pretty decent baseball player. He was arguably the first real star for the brand-new Los Angeles Angels, and was a six-time All Star for them. He also managed for 15 years, and finished with over 1000 wins.


This is just so damn cute. Bobby “Alfalfa” Murcer. Possibly my favorite card of all time.

Bobby Murcer just also happened to be one of my favorite players when I was growing up. For some reason, I was a bit of a Yankees fan back then. Being the huge history fan that I am, I’m sure it had something to with their storied past. You’ll be happy to know, though, that when Steinbrenner, and Martin, and Reggie, and all the gang came along a few years later, I dropped them like a hot potato.


One of these things is not like the other / One of these things just doesn’t belong / One of these things is not like the other / Can you guess which one before I finish my song?

Yup, it’s John Hilton. Here, let’s see why:

Mike Ron John
Years 18 17 4
HRs 548 316 6
MVPs 3 0 0
All Star appearances 12 6 0
Gold Gloves 10 0 0
Hall of Fame Yes No No
Rookie of the Year No No No
Dorky specs Yes Yes No


Quadruple threat!  We’ve got (clockwise from top left) too-dark shades, a hairdo that would look nice on a girl, a super lame fu Manchu, and eyes half-closed.

Tom Hume and Steve McCatty actually were real, live legitimate major-league baseball players. Hume was up for 11 years, finishing just short of 100 saves and garnering one All-Star berth. McCatty was up for nine years, and once led the AL in wins and ERA. Okay, okay, it was for strike-shortened 1981, but still …

Larry Landreth and Bruce Taylor? I’ve got Larry down for 20 innings over two years, with a 1-4 record and a 6.46 ERA. He was a real, live Canadian though. Bruce? How about three years, with a 3.86 ERA and a 2-2 record? He was from Massachusetts, by the way.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Those Hip & Happenin' Reuschel Twins

So, I’m figurin’ these two were raised by wolves in the Ozark Mountains.  Probably Mormon wolves.  How else to explain two guys so out of touch with the times.


This is Paul. He’s the one with the glasses.


This is Rick. He’s the one without the glasses.

It also appears he likes to wear his batting helmet on the mound. Oh no, Rick – everybody does that. I see it all the time.


Rick again.  Nice form!


Big league nerds, if you ask me.  Both of ‘em.


Rick, what happened to the ‘stache?  I tell ya, the guy is like a chameleon.

BTW, love the chaw!


Yeah, that's more like it.


Paul, is that you?  What happened to the chunky, black, and nerdy style?  I thought that was your brand.


There, that’s better.


Doing our best Walter Johnson imitation. Oh, if Walter Johnson weighed 250, that is.


260?  More??



So, if you’re still having a hard time telling these two apart:

Rick Paul
Embarrassing 1st name Ricky N/A
Embarrassing middle name Eugene N/A
Embarrassing nickname Big Daddy N/A
Embarrassing weight 225 (yeah, right) 225
Years active 1972-1991 1975-1979
Record 214-191 16-16
20-win seasons 1 0
Strikeouts 2,015 188
ERA 3.37 4.51
All Star appearances 3 0
Gold Gloves 2 0
Comeback Player of the Year 1 0
Years leading league in WHIP 1 0
Years leading league in losses 1 0
Years leading league in hits allowed 1 0
Glasses No Yes

Now, did that help any?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

John Stearns: Just a Little out of Focus

“Hey, it's early in the morning.  Out havin’ a little fun last night.  Sure.  Thass all.  Lossa fun.”

“Drunk?  No, I’m not still drunk!  I had a coupla hours a sleep.  No problem.  Les play ball!  C’mon, iss lotta fun!”


1977. John’s first card, as far as I can tell. He was actually drafted by the Phillies – in fact, as the second overall pick in ‘73. Interestingly, he was also drafted by the Buffalo Bills that same year, as a defensive back.
Not a bad year at all. Stearns would become the Mets regular catcher and actually make it onto the All Star squad. He was the woeful Mets’ sole representative.


1978. Another good year. In addition to the steals (25), Stearns would also set career highs in homers (15) and RBIs (73).

1979, Hostess. Back to the All Star game.  A healthy Stearns would also set a career high for at bats, with 538.

1982, Donruss. The last year John would be a regular. He also sets a career-high batting average, with a .293 mark.

1982, Fleer. Stearns is also back to the All-Star game, for the fourth time.


1984. Stearns’ last year in the bigs. He gets 17 at bats and hits .176. Oddly, he does not make the All Star game.

2003, Choice. John’s the manager of the Norfolk Tides now, but do I still detect a slight … you know … a certain … Oh, I don’t know … a certain look returning?
Yup, it’s definitely there.
In addition to minor-league manager, Stearns has kept in baseball as a major-league coach, scout, and ESPN broadcaster as well.

Lets’ end with a little Stearnsian trivia I thought you might enjoy:
  • His brother Bill played in the Yankees organization
  • He had one game with the Phils before being traded
  • He once became irritated with the Atlanta mascot Chief Noc-a-Homa and chased him off the field
  • His nickname was “Bad Dude”

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Story of Little Tito and His Famous Headband

It’s a kid’s story.  Seriously, I’ve got a publisher all lined up, and an illustrator … Caldecott Medal – here we come!


Tito, before he discovered the magic power of the headband.

1966. Tito Fuentes comes in third in Rookie of the Year voting. Never much of a slugger, he also set a career record for homers … with nine big ones.


If indeed looking like an uncoordinated dork constitutes action.

1971. Tito is a steady regular with the Giants, actually getting 630 at bats for them this year. Amazingly, he gets only 18 walks. His OBP is under .300!


I’ve got to assume he’s wearing the hatband under the batting helmet – though it’s a little hard to tell at this distance.  Heck, I’m not even sure what team he plays on, or which guy he might actually be.

1972. Another steady season, but with a drop in at bats, to 572.


No, no, Tito. It goes under the hat.

1973. Tito gets 656 at bats! And that’s good enough for third in the NL that year.


I guess Tito’s just not sure enough of himself to commit to the brand just yet. But, is that a little star over the “i”? Hold that thought, ‘kay?

1974. Tito’s last year with the Giants. He gets a mere 390 at bats.


Wow, personalized too. Though, if I didn’t know better, I’d think it said “TITS.”

1975. Tito’s back to being a regular, getting 565 at bats for the Pads.


That’s right, under the cap.  Though you do realize that you don’t really need one of these in baseball, right?

1976. His last year with the Pads, though the steady regular does get 520 at bats.


The dude just never gives up, does he?

1977. Though he’s just a fill-in for the young Tony Phillips, Fuentes finishes his last year with 615 at bats and a .309 average (the only time he would break .300).


After Detroit, Tito would get 43 at bats with the Expos. He would then become the Giants’ Spanish-language broadcaster, a role he’s filled on and off for 30-some years. He remains a huge fan favorite.

And in case you haven’t figured out by now, Tito Fuentes was, indeed, quite the hot dog. In addition to the headband and the little star on his signature, he also:

  • Sported a gold tooth
  • Did a nifty bat flip when he came up to the plate
  • Wore rings on all eight fingers
  • Favored red suits with wide lapels
  • Wore up to a dozen gold chains under his jersey while on the field

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Many Moods of Larry Christenson

You may have heard of this particular meme before. It’s typically associated with some tough guy actor whose emotional range goes from tough to, well, tough. A quick search of Google Images shows me these guys in particular (primarily on T-shirts):
  • Chuck Norris
  • Batman
  • Steven Seagal
  • Darth Vader
  • Danny Trejo
  • He-Man
  • Mike Woodson
  • Godzilla


Oddly, I wasn’t able to find Larry Christenson out there on any of ‘em. I’m thinking, though, you could probably print several hundred thousand with Larry’s mug on ’em, sell ‘em all at whatever price you want, then retire and move to the Bahamas. Whattya think? Wanna go in on it with me?
 

Here he is! You’ll be seeing this look for the next six years.

1973. Larry’s first year. Unfortunately, he would only go 1-4, with an ERA north of 6.00. BTW, he’s the youngest player in the majors this year, at age 19.


Larry! It’s you again. No, no, just turn your head slightly. That’ll do. Great!

1974. Larry’s sophomore season is a little better, though he doesn’t get as much action. He goes 1-1 with an ERA in the 4’s.



So, guy, what’s with the jacket?

1975. Larry is one of the Phillies starters, and does pretty well. He goes 11-6, with an ERA in the 3’s.    



That’s more like it.

1977. Another good year. The ERA goes just over 4.00, but Larry finishes just one win short of being a 20-game winner. Larry also leads the league in something for the first time. Unfortunately, it’s errors committed by a pitcher.


My God, Larry! As if the jacket wasn’t crazy enough!

1978. Another decent year. Larry’s in double figures again, but finishes one game under .500. He does have the best ERA of his career, at 3.24. He also leads the league in fewest walks per nine innings, at 1.85.


Larry would pitch for five more years for the Phillies. He would never ascend those heights of the middle and late ‘70s again however.

Nor would we see quite that same deadpan pose again year after year after year. Instead, we’ve got a couple where Larry might arguably be deemed to be looking in for a signal (kinda hard to really tell for sure, though):


Or perhaps just looking a little confused:


Topps (and Fleer) also threw in a couple of action shots. In fact, there’s even one of those where Larry appears to be sporting a beard (gasp!):


Oh, and there’s also this monstrosity: