Monday, April 28, 2014

Haberdashery Horrors of the 1970s

The baseball cap is a pretty unique American institution. Not only do baseball players wear them, but so do baseball fans … and farmers and fishermen and golfers and long-distance truckers. Pretty much anybody who wants to keep the sun out of their eyes without looking like a dork. That said, they’re also popular with frat boys, actors (and actresses), newly drafted NBA rookies, girls with ponytails, and ironic Brooklyn hipsters.  

In fact, ball caps have pretty much taken on the same American cultural icon status as blue jeans and t-shirts. Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google Images search. I was able to find pictures of Stephen Spielberg, George W. Bush, Charlize Theron, Barrack Obama, Hilary Clinton, author Mario Vargas Llosa, billionaire Carlos Slim, Prince William, and even Robert Mugabe and Pope Benedict XVII.

Wear ‘em proudly, folks!

Careful, Jerry.  That brim could hurt somebody.

Jerry Reuss was a pretty decent pitcher. He had a 22-year career, and actually played in four decades (1969-1980). Only 28 other major leaguers have ever done that (and with nine of them making it to Cooperstown).

Overall, Jerry finished 220-191, with a 3.64 ERA, and 1,900 strikeouts. He also threw a no hitter, was a two-time All Star, and once came in second in Cy Young voting.

More questionable sartorial decisions from Mr. Reuss right here.

That’s a big hat ya got there, Mike.

Mike Hedlund was something of a poor man’s Jerry Reuss. Over six years, he finished 25-24, with a 3.56 ERA and 211 Ks. But I’ll bet you Jerry (unlike Mike) never:
  • Made his major-league debut at age 18
  • Played for the Tiburones de La Guaira and the Navegantes del Magallanes
  • Got traded for Ozzie Osborn (that’s correct – no “e”)
  • Went by the nickname of “Booger Red”

Oversize hats must have been all the rage back in 1970.

Mike Kilkenny was more of a Mike Hedlund than a Jerry Reuss. And, like Hedlund, Kilkenny also had his fair share of unusual experiences:
  • Giving up Frank Robinson’s 500th homer
  • Playing for four different MLB teams in one year
  • Becoming a golf pro after retiring from baseball
  • Being Canadian!


And no one was as quite fashion-forward as Bill McCool.

Bill (AKA Billy) McCool has been here before, where I made fun of his ‘do.  I also shared some of his (somewhat respectable) stats, but somehow failed to mention that:
  • His Dad was named Carl, and his mom was named Dolores
  • He went to Lawrenceburg (IN) High School
  • The first batter he faced was Jesus Alou (Jesus singled)
  • His mom passed away in 1999
  • He’s retired and living in Summerfield FL now 
  • Summerfield is an unincorporated community in Monroe County

Hey, thanks, Wikipedia author!

Looks like this fashion statement had legs – all the way into 1971 at least ...

I always get this guy mixed up with Floyd Bobby. You know, the race car driver? 

Bobby Floyd’s picture is in the dictionary next to the definition for “late-inning defensive replacement.” Yup, it was definitely all glove and no bat for our Bobby. I’m talking seven years, 400 at bats, a .219 average, and no homers. 

That said, Bobby still somehow managed to get a 3,000-word bio on SABR. It sounds, though, like the author – one Nelson “Chip” Green – might specialize in the obscure. His other articles are on guys like Ted Beard, Butch Schmidt, Costen Shockley, Archie Shimmel, and Clyde Vollmer.


Maybe this one was just Frank's big brother’s.

Frank Baker went by the nickname of “Home Run,” though he actually hit less than 100 of them. He did, however, finish his career with a .307 average and just short of 1,000 RBIs. I guess that’s what got him into the Hall of Fame.

Wait a minute … I think I got the wrong guy. Our Frank Baker was a weak-hitting outfielder: two years, 350 at bats, a .232 average, and four homers. Well, maybe you could him “Home Run” if you were comparing him to Bobby Floyd.

It had to be XXL to fit all that ‘fro.

Hey, it’s the Sarge! Alright! Wait... No... That was Elliot Maddox, right?  What, no?!?

Garry Maddox was an outfielder ... who played for the Phillies … and the Giants … and had a big afro … and … Well, no wonder I got the two confused. 

They also played for almost the same number of years, at roughly the same time, and with just a few points difference in their batting average. Matthews, though, had a little more pop, while Maddox had a little more speed. Also, Matthews was an on-base machine, while Maddox was a Gold Glove machine. 

Elliott Maddox? He wasn’t even in the same league.

Zut alors, Don!  You look so French wiz zat cap.

Don Bryant was a backup catcher. His numbers were even worse than Monsieur Floyd’s: three years, 109 at bats, and a .220 average. He did, however, manage to hit one homer somehow or other.

Some interesting things about Don:
  • His nickname was “Bear” (oh, wait a minute – that's actually pretty lame)
  • He was quite tall for a catcher – 6’5”
  • He was a bullpen coach for the Red Sox and Mariners after retiring
  • He spoke fluent French (just kidding about that last one)

Ah, the old baseball bonnet. The baseball bonnet is something you see occasionally when Topps isn’t quite sure where a player will be playing next year. Alternatives include no hat or painting over an existing one (vide Don Bryant). I’m not sure what exactly the bonnet had going for it, but it was indeed a very popular choice back then.

As for Matty Alou, well, he’s been here before, where I made fun of his ears. I also shared some stats and the fact that he had two brothers play in the bigs at the same time. But  I’ll bet you didn’t know that Matty:
  • Was only 5’9” and 160 lbs.
  • Pitched two  innings in ’65, striking out Willie Stargell twice
  • Set a then record for at bats, with 698 in 1969
  • Played in Japan
  • Is in the Hispanic Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Speaks fluent Japanese (not!)

Painter’s caps were all the rage in the 1970s.

Another Pirate! Jose Pagan played for the Bucs for eight years during their glory days, though he also donned a Giant and Phillie uniform as well. Overall, he played in three decades – 1959 through 1973. A starter for the Giants, he was a backup infielder for Pittsburgh. He was a Pirate coach as well.

Another baseball bonnet. I’m thinking that jersey definitely gives it away though. That is definitely not an Expo ensemble!

Cesar Gutierrez was another iffy middle infielder. He had one year as a starter, with a desperate Detroit giving him over 400 at bats in 1970. It’s the only time he got over 100 at bats in his four-year career. The final result: four years, 500-some at bats, a .235 average, and no homers.

Oh, almost forgot ... Cesar was able to distinguish himself  at least one time. He went 7-for-7 in a single game, the first player ever to do that. Now, why it was Cesar, and not Ty Cobb, or Pete Rose, or – heck – even Matty Alou, is completely beyond me.

Oh, and yes, avocado green is my favorite color.  And I do find it goes best with orange and yellow.

Joe isn’t wearing that cap so much as just allowing it to perch on his head for the moment.

Like most of the guys in this post, Joe Foy was up for only a few years. He was, however, able to do something with the limited time afforded him in the bigs. Over six years, Joe managed to get not quite 2,500 at bats, hit a few dingers (15 in one season, 16 in another), steal 99 bases, and post decent run and RBI totals (including 97 runs in his rookie season). 

Push … it … down

It’s Mad Dog! Man, there are sure a lot of Pirates in this post.

Bill “Mad Dog” Madlock was a fiery player (18 ejections), but he was also an excellent hitter as well. In fact, he won no less than four batting titles. He finished his 15-year career with just over 2,000 hits and an average just over .300. Madlock was also a three-time All Star, winning the MVP award for the 1975 contest. 

Push it down, push it down, w-a-y down.

Cecil Cooper was another pretty darn good player. Over 17 years, he finished with a .298 average, 241 home runs, 1125 RBIs, and not quite 2200 hits. He led the league in RBIs twice, was a five-time All Star, won the Silver Slugger Award three times, was a two-time Gold Glover, and also won the Roberto Clemente Award.

“Coop” also managed. He was at the helm of the Astros for two years and some change, finishing one game above .500, with a record of  171-170.

I know it’s an ’86, and Jim Leyland happens to be one of my favorite managers ever, but this has to be the worst excuse for a baseball cap I’ve ever seen in my life. Yup, it’s the famous “beekeeper card.” What – I ask you, what – could anyone even remotely involved with this card possibly have been thinking?

* - author has this card

More horrors - from the '50s and '60s.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Give 'Em the Bird!

Mark (“The Bird”) Fidrych was the total opposite of “baseball cool.” I mean, seriously, what self-respecting big-time major-league baseball pitcher would:

  • Strut around the mound after every out
  • Pat his infielders on the back after good plays
  • Constantly get down on his hands and knees to “manicure” the mound
  • Talk to himself
  • Talk to the ball

Needless to say, his hyper, slightly cracked antics were a huge hit with the fans when he burst on the scene in 1976. In fact, that first year was a huge hit all around, with Fidrych going 19-9, leading the league in ERA and complete games, winning the Rookie of the Year Award, and being named to the All Star team.

He’d replicate that last feat in his sophomore year, as well as posting a sub 3.00 ERA in each of his first three seasons. Unfortunately, he’d also never break 100 innings again, never getting over the arm trouble that resulted from the 250 innings he threw in ’76. 

Ultimately, he’d be out of the bigs in five quick years, retiring to his rural Massachusetts hometown, where he drove a truck and purchased a farm.

Oh, did I mention he was an extremely lanky 6’3” and 175 lbs., with curly hair that made him look like Raggedy Andy? Yup, The Bird was a piece of work, let me tell you.

Is he stoned?  

1977, that incredible rookie year.

No, seriously.  He’s stoned, isn’t he?

1979. The Bird only got 22 innings for this year. He did, however, go unbeaten (2-0) and posted a 2.45 ERA.

1980. Reversal of fortune – Fidrych went 0-3 with a 10.43 ERA.

1981. His last year in the majors. He’d go 2-3 with a 5.68 ERA. 

Whoops!  Wrong guy.  Who ever heard of Mark “The Catfish” Fidrych?

And here’s the pitch …

Monday, April 14, 2014


Guys don’t need perms. It should never enter into a guy’s brain that a perm would be even remotely a possibility.

But then again, what better evidence could there be that the ‘70s were a sick, sick decade than the popularity of these things way back then?

It’s bad enough to be named after a dessert, but add in the perm and the dopey expression, and we’re talking big time bad here. 

Mark Lemongello (luh-MON-juh-lo, by the way) has a Wikipedia entry that is such a classic I just had to quote it verbatim:

Mark Lemongello (born July 21, 1955 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is a retired professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1976-1979. He played for the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays. He is the cousin of singer Peter Lemongello.

Lemongello was known throughout his career for his erratic, sometimes violent behavior, which sometimes overshadowed his on-field accomplishments. He would often furiously slap himself in the face after a bad inning, and after bad games Lemongello was known to destroy locker room equipment such as hair dryers and light fixtures in fits of anger. By his own admission, Lemongello admitted to reporter Alan Abel: "My head was messed up."

After spending three seasons with Houston, where he compiled a 21-29 record, Lemongello balked at being traded to Toronto, asking if Canadians "spoke American." His tenure with Toronto was little short of disastrous, as Lemongello spent half a season with the club going 1-9, before being sent down to the minors after a screaming match with manager Roy Hartsfield. When informed he was being sent down to Syracuse, he threw an ashtray at the head of Blue Jays GM Peter Bavasi, barely missing him.

Lemongello never appeared in another major league game. Sold to the Chicago Cubs in 1980, his playing career ended that same year with the Triple-A Wichita Aeros.

In 1982, a few years after leaving baseball, Lemongello and Manuel Seoane (a former Wichita teammate), were arrested for the kidnapping and robbery of Lemongello's cousins Mike Lemongello, a former professional bowler, and Peter Lemongello. Lemongello was sentenced to seven years probation after he pled no contest to the charges.

It’s not the worst one I’ve ever seen, but the 'stache, glasses, and painted cap aren't exactly helping any now, are they?  

Tom's been here before, for a bad case of, strabismus (click the link, if you don't know what that means)  In that previous post, I talked about Tom's stats. It was only after he hung up the spikes, though, that Tom really started to shine.

Tom was actualy a pretty well-known and respected pitching coach, helping the Rangers, Astros, Padres, Chiba Lotte Marines, and USC Trojans (as well as some NFL quarterbacks!). Nolan Ryan credited him during his HoF induction speech (Nolan’s, not Tom’s).

Tom is actually quite an accomplished fellow. He started his own company, earned a PhD (in sports psychology), and has written 11 books.

Still not too bad (though I do like the way Ted's perm matches his chest hair).

Ted Sizemore was a second baseman with a great glove and an okay bat. Things started out pretty well for him, as he won the Rookie of the Year Award in the NL for the ‘69 season. To be honest, though, it was one of the weakest RoY seasons ever – .271 average, four homers, five stolen bases, 69 runs, and 46 RBIs. Overall, he finished his 12-year, five-team career with a little over 5,000 at bats, but a .262 average, and only 23 homers, 59 stolen bases, 577 runs, and 430 ribbies.

He’s currently doing good, though, as CEO of BAT (the Baseball Assistance Team). It’s an excellent charity that helps out former major leaguers down on their luck.

Okay, this is bad. Really bad.

Dick Bosman has actually been here twice before, for his follow-through and his signature. Well, I guess it’s time to make fun of something else now. Thanks for making that so easy, Dick!

To be quite honest with you, I’ve said pretty much everything there is to say about this guy in those other posts. Believe me, there is probably nothing else interesting I can possibly say about Dick Bosman.

It’s hard to believe, but looking like a sleazy porn star was all the rage in 1974.

Welcome back, Bill. Yup, Bill Campbell has already been featured in this blog. In that post, I shared some of his stats (as well as his striking resemblance to an angry Bozo the Clown), but I’ll bet you didn’t know that:

  • He saw combat duty in Viet Nam.
  • He was one of the first free agents. Bill left the Twins for the Red Sox, signing a four-year, million-dollar contract. Wow, a whole million! 
  • His nickname was “Soup.” [sigh]

John Holmes, eat your heart out.

Bob Johnson really got around. In addition to pitching in the majors, it looks like he also caught, played the infield and outfield, and also made a name for himself as a musician, actor, politician, shrink, weather forecaster, and butcher. But, then again, that is a pretty common name. Thanks anyway, Wikipedia.

Our Bob Johnson was up for seven seasons, starting 76 times, but never getting double figures in wins and finishing with a 28-34 record overall. 

He’ll always have a place in my heart though. I’m sure I saw him start more than a few games when I lived in the ‘Burgh in the early ‘70s (when the Pirates were really good). 

Persian lamb?

Ed Herrmann was a pretty decent catcher.  He was up for 11 years, getting in not quite 1,000 games and finishing with 80 homers and 320 RBIs. He was a one-time All Star and also caught a no-hitter. His best year was his sophomore season, where he hit .283 and belted 19 dingers (almost a quarter of his career total).  He was also known as a particularly good knuckleball catcher, having handled Hoyt Wilhelm, Wilbur Wood,  and Eddie Fisher with the Chisox.

Among his many post-career activities, I particularly liked his being elected Chapter President for the Christian motorcyclists association Wings of Eagles, Chapter 498, North San Diego County. That fu manchu must have come in handy there.

Perm, dopey expression, and cheesy mustache make this one a Triple Crown winner.

Pete Redfern had a seven-year major league career, all with the Twinkies.  He finished a pretty forgettable 42-48, with a 4.54 ERA. His one claim to fame seems to be being the starting pitcher for the first game in the Metrodome.

By the way, don’t get our Pete confused with Pete Redfern the Liverpool musician, or Pete Redfern the CEO of Taylor Wimpey. Easy to do, of course. I totally understand.

Wayne had a little different job in the offseason. He was a porn star! 

Wayne Garland actually did have an interesting career (in baseball, that is).  After a few cups of coffee with the O’s, he put together a 20-win season for them in 1976 (with a 2.67 ERA to boot).

He then parlayed that career year into sign a 10-year free agent contract with the Indians. The poor, poor, hapless Indians. 

Yup, Wayne took that 20-win season and totally turned it around, finishing with a 13-19 record in his first year in Cleveland and leading the league in losses. Believe it or not, though, it would only get worse. He would flub through four more seasons with the Tribe, never posting a winning record, never getting double figures in wins, and only once getting his ERA below 5.00. And that makes him one of the Worst Free Agent Signings Ever.

And for no extra charge, we’ll throw in the really bad perm.  That’s the cheesy mustache, the weird expression, and the really bad perm – all for only $9.99.

Poor Mike Cosgrove.  His Wikipedia entry comes in at a mere 75 words. I mean, not that there was all that much to say (four years, 12-11 record, ), but still … 

Oh, and I know it’s easy to do, but please don’t confuse our Mike with Mike Cosgrove the drummer for Alien Ant Farm. Happens all the time, I know.

The perm?  The ‘stache?  The expression?  The chaw?  The name? What is it that makes this card one of the all-time worst?

Warren Brusstar may have set a record for most times refusing to sign in the draft. I’ve got him down for ’70 (#634), ’71 (#114), and ’73 (#684). You’ll be happy to know that he did indeed finally sign – in ’74 (#67), with the Phillies. 

“Brew” would become the classic set up man – nine years, 340 games, 485 innings, 14 saves, 28 wins. He would actually do pretty well in the postseason, notching a 1.96 ERA in 18 innings over six separate series.

Somehow or other, Brusstar managed to make it into three separate halls of fame. Of course, I am talking about those for Napa Valley High School, Napa Valley Community College, and the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.

"Ennh, wise guy, huh?"

I told you you’d be seeing Don Stanhouse again (for a totally different look for this guy, check out this post). Alright, time to share some stats …

Um … er… I gotta tell ya … They’re pretty so-so. Over ten years, he finished with a 38-54 record and a 1.528 WHIP. He was the O’s closer for two years though. In fact, he somehow managed to get in an All Star game in one of those two years.

Steve, no! You didn’t, really, did you?  As if the painted-on cap wasn’t bad enough.  
Well, at least he’s still with the Phillies, and hasn’t yet started that long, slow, increasingly desperate, completely embarrassing attempt to hang on into his mid-40s with the Giants, Chisox, Twins, and who knows who else.

Monday, April 7, 2014

More Mustachioes

So, we’ve done the cheesy little ones and the fu manchus. But we’ve also got walruses, and handlebars, and toothbrushes, and Salvador Dalis, and Frank Zappas, and who knows what else. 

So, what are you waiting for?  Read on!

Not quite walrus, but gettin’ there.

Somehow or other, Tom (AKA Tommy) Hutton managed to play for three decades, from 1966 to 1981. I say “somehow” as Hutton got over 300 at bats only once, hit only 22 homers for his whole career (and as a first baseman to boot), and finished with a lowly .248 average and a mere 186 RBIs.

Tom really picked it up after retirement, though – primarily as a broadcaster (he’s been the Marlins’ color commentator since 1997).  He also owns his own baseball academy, and has run the Boston Marathon as well.

Definitely more walrus.  

Doug DeCinces was a pretty decent third baseman. In 15 years in the bigs, he notched almost 6,000 at bats, with 237 homers and 879 RBIs. DeCinces split his career pretty evenly between Baltimore and the Angels. The O’s traded him to make room for some kid named Ripkin or Rypien or Ripon or something (DeCinces had taken over third from some aging geezer named Brook Robertson or Brooke Roberts or something like that).

I love the ‘stache, but what I really like about this one is the shadow.  It makes poor Doug look like Gumby.

Gosh, do you think he shampooed that thing?

This is actually pretty tame for this guy. I can guarantee you that Don Stanhouse will be back in this blog.

I am the walrus / I am the walrus / Goo goo g’joob

Tim Blackwell was a backup catcher – or, as he (or maybe his mom) liked to put it on Wikipedia, a “defensive specialist with good pitch-calling skills and, possessing a strong, accurate throwing arm.” Tim was also able to carry some pretty impressive jockstraps over the years – Bob Boone, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter …

Oh, his stats? Well … um … er … Okay, how about 10 years, 1,000 at bats, 6 homers, and a .228 average? So, is that backup catcher enough for ya?

Like most backup catchers, though, Tim seemed to actually be paying attention when he was sitting on the bench all those years. He coached and managed in the minors pretty much from the time he hung up his spikes to just a few years ago.

Yup, this card is from the ‘80s, but I couldn’t not include it.

Painted on?

And haven’t we met before? Yup, Don Hood was always at the forefront of fashion.

Unfortunately, I really didn’t talk about Don’s stats in that other post. Well, you can kind of think of Don as something like the pitching equivalent of Tim Blackwell … if you get my drift. 

Over ten years, Don went 34-35, posted a 3.79 ERA, and tallied six whole saves. Comparable players include Roy Henshaw, Chet Nichols, Steve Ridzik, and Bob Chipman. 

By the way, there’s an interesting story behind that last loss – you know, the one that put Don under .500. Turns out it came in the very last game he pitched, on the very last day of the season, on two unearned runs. Some retirement party, huh?

I believe they call this one a handlebar, or perhaps a barhandle or maybe just plain dorky.  I don’t know.  I’m terribly out of the loop when it comes to this sort of thing.

Dick’s a repeat offender. Just last week, I busted him for his fu manchu (which, I guess, is what you get when you let your handlebar get a little out of control). I shared his stats there, but didn’t mention his post-career successes. Dick is now Vice President and Assistant General Manager, Player Personnel for the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club. In fact, he’s been with them for over 20 years.
Of course, we can’t have a ‘stache post without this guy.

But, who is this dude?  Hmm, do you think the ‘stache was just a subtle way to take attention away from that unibrow?