Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Candy Man

Crazy hair, overbite, cheesy little mustache – the Candy Man had it all.

John (“The Candy Man”) Candelaria was also a pretty darn good pitcher.  Over a 19-year career, he notched an impressive 177-122 record, a fine 3.33 ERA, and an impressive 1,673 K’s.

Personally, I probably saw him pitch at least a half a dozen times. Yup, he was one of Pittsburgh’s pitching stars when I lived there as a teen and was enamored with my Buccos (hey, they were really good way back then!).

Winds out of the southwest at 20 knots.

1976.  This is Candelaria’s rookie card.  He actually had a pretty decent year, going 8-6 with a very nice 2.76 ERA.

But I did comb it.

1977.  A pretty good sophomore performance – 16-7, an ERA just a little over 3.00, and 138 strikeouts in 220 innings. He also threw a no-hitter.

It’s the look that drove all the ladies wild.

1978.  The previous year was The Candy Man’s best.  He won 20, was an All-Star, and also led the league in ERA.

Wow, not everybody gets to be an avg ldr!  

Seriously, what numb-nuts editor approved this?  Why couldn’t this just be “ERA Leader”?

It’s a stripes explosion!

1979. A definite falling off, with the record just above .500, at 12-11. The ERA wasn’t that bad though – 3.24.

“Okay, kids.  It’s time to have a frank discussion about …”  Oh, I don’t know. How about these lame-ass uniforms the Pirates keep coming up with?

1982. Candelaria was hurt this year, pitching in only six games.

Wow, is this the same guy?  He looks downright handsome.

1987. The Bucs have given up on John and dumped him on the Angels. Turns out there’s life in the old dog yet though. Candelaria would go 10-2 for the Halos, helping them to the postseason. He would also pitch well for them there, giving up one run in 11 innings, but would get no run support, and California would lose to Boston.

Sans moustache.  

1988. And off to another club. In the end, Candelaria would end up playing for eight different teams. 

In general, that’s what happens when you’re a 6’7” lefty. Somebody’s always willing to give you another chance.

Yup, 6’7”. And, yes, he was also quite the basketball star at one time.

Kinda amazing the baby face that was hiding behind that awful ‘stache, huh?  But I guess that’s why he musta grew the thing in the first place, right?  Something very similar happened to yours truly.

(I grew a beard in my late twenties because I got tired of getting carded. I then shaved it off in my forties when some grey hairs made their appearance. I grew it back when everything started turning grey, and I just didn’t give a damn anymore.)

1990. Candelaria also played with the Yankees this year. Between the two teams, though, he didn’t get in more than 22 games.

Honestly, it makes you look ten years younger, dude!

1991. The end is near. The Candy Man would split this year with the Jays and Twins.

1993 would be his last year. He would return to the Pirates, but go 0-3 there with an 8.24 ERA. Hey, it’s been real, man!

Who can take a sunrise / Sprinkle it with dew 
Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two 
The Candy Man / Oh, the Candy Man can 
The Candy Man can / 'Cause he mixes it with love 
And makes the world taste good 

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