Friday, January 3, 2014

Hair Today

I’ve actually managed to get a couple of posts in already about hair. Of course, back then it was all a slight variation on the crew cut. In the 1970s, however, the palette began to broaden quite considerably. Here, let me show ya …


It’s the ‘70s, Fred.  Isn’t it a little late for a crew cut?

Poor Fred Talbot. He was up for eight years, but finished with a 38-56 record and 4.12 ERA. Over those eight years, he never had a winning record, once finishing 1-9 with the Yankees. 

He was a major part of Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. In that classic, teammate Merrit Ranew said of him, “Your head is square, you have hardly any nose at all, your eyes bulge out and you look like some kind of fish.”

Poor Fred was kind of the butt of the whole book. One of the great pranks played on him was a fake palimony letter. “You couldn’t have pulled a needle out of his ass with a tractor,” said teammate Ray Oyler. Fred later commented. “Some joke. Why didn’t you just send me a telegram telling me my kids had been burned to death?”

Read all about Fred and Ball Four right here.

The teeth and the goofy look just weren’t enough, were they Dave?  

Dave Baldwin is one interesting dude. The baseball part, though, wasn’t terribly engrossing. Six years, 6-11 record, 22 saves … 

It’s what Dave did after hanging up the spikes that I find fascinating. The dude has a masters in systems engineering and a PhD in genetics. He’s published articles in the Harvard Business Review and American Scientist. He’s published poetry in numerous journals and has also written a book, Snake Jazz. Finally, he’s an artist, one who’s got a work hanging at Cooperstown. What a guy! 

Really great SABR bio of him right here.

Tom’s hairpiece was actually a small poodle that he stuffed down the back of his jersey.

Tom Dettore came up with my beloved Buccos as a batter, but switched to the mound before making it to the bigs. An impressive 6’4”, he never quite translated that into Total Mound Dominance™. Over four years, he complied an 8-11 record and a 5.21 ERA.  A true baseball lifer, though, he has been coaching (in the minors) since the day he hung up his spikes.

How can hair even do that?

Craig Swan’s main claim to fame was leading the NL in ERA, in 1978. Overall, he was up for 12 years, finishing with a rather subpar 59-72 record (though playing with the Mets back then will definitely do that to you).

After hanging up his spikes, Craig got into Rolfing. He’s been doing it for over 20 years now, and owns his own company, Greenwich Rolfing, in Greenwich, CT. (Oh, in case you didn’t know – that’s a kind of massage.)

Many hair dryers had to die for “Bob” to get that look.

Bobby Grich! Man, what a blast from the past. Any O’s fan from the ‘70s remembers this guy. Hard to believe he’s 64 today.

I think all of us remember this dude’s ‘stache. But how about that hair? Pretty unbelievable, huh?

It’s a tough call …  The tanned male model on the left?  Or the corpse-like Chico Marx look-alike on the right?  Whaddya say, ladies?  

No need to say much about Hall of Famer and underwear model Jim Palmer. I may need to jog your memory on Randy Jones though. 

Jones was the first real star for the expansion Padres. He was their first league leader, in ERA in 1975. He was a 20-game winner that year and also the next. He also won the Cy that second year.

Unfortunately, Randy suffered an injury at the end of that big year, and was never the same again afterwards.

It’s Chico … by a hair!

These days, Randy Jones is involved in some coaching, some catering, and some TV starring. As for the catering, Jones operates a barbecue concession at Petco Park. “I suppose I’m the Boog Powell of the West,” he asserts modestly. Randy also has his own show on the Outdoor Channel. It’s one of them huntin’ and fishin’ shows, but with real live sports stars.

By the way, Randy’s nickname when he was playing was, not “Chico,” but “Junkman.” And that’s from his repertoire of slow, slower, and slowest sinkers.

He’s b-a-c-k …  

Poor “Bob” had to go into the Federal Witness Protection Program after this one.

Bobby Grich sure did rack up the awards. I’m talking six All Star appearances, five years of MVP votes, four Gold Gloves, and one Silver Slugger award. 

Oh, he also led the league in HRs, the first time a second baseman had done it since Rogers Hornsby. Yes, it was the strike-shortened ’81 season. And, yes, he was tied with three other guys. But still …

Pete Rose bowl cut … on a ginger … with a mustache … and an overbite.  It all makes poor Will look like a small, furry woodland creature of some sort.

This guy again, huh? We’ve already talked about his big glove and his rather lackluster follow-through. I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda getting sick of this dude.

The hair, the glasses, the turtleneck.  I wasn’t sure where to put this one, but I do know it’s one of the all-time classics.

Things didn’t start out so well for Brian Downing. Not only did he fail to make his college team, but he was also cut from his high school one. And when he finally did make it the majors, he tumbled into the dugout on a sliding catch in his first inning, sending himself to the 60-day DL.

Somehow or other, though, he ended up punching a major league clock for 20 years. Being a catcher certainly helped. Transforming himself one winter with some pretty extreme weight lifting helped too. 

It was actually quite the transformation. In his first four seasons, he averaged six HRs and 34 RBIs, while hitting only .251. The year after? Twenty-eight dingers, 84 RBIs, 109 runs, .281 average. 

Hmm …  Does the fact that the first suggested search in Google is “brain downing steroids” have anything to do with this?

* - author has this card


  1. Cliff,

    In regard to the Randy Jones card, featuring frizzy hair and a brown uniform, here in Australia I used to collect in the mid-1970's cards for the Sydney Rugby League competition. Here is the rugby league version of Randy Jones, the 1976 card of Brian Reeve of the Penrith Panthers:

  2. No, actually Graham, that one is a LOT worse

  3. Cliff,
    Penrith's performances on the field matched the awfulness of that brown and white striped jersey. They eventually won their first championship in 1991 after ditching their brown and white colour scheme - I do think these two events are related!

  4. Yeah, I think I saw that guy at the Westminster Kennel Show. I can't remember, though, if he was the Bedlington Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont, or the Irish Water Spaniel.

  5. Cliff,

    I have done a post on 1970's footy cards on my personal blog, including two more examples of that terrible Penrith jumper plus some very bad hair and moustaches as well!