Monday, September 29, 2014

The Unibrow ('70s Version)

Had these guys never heard of razors? 

Did they not get their hair cut by a barber? Did that barber not suggest a little trim “up there”? 

Did they not have wives and girlfriends? Did that wife or girlfriend not make any subtle suggestions? Offer to tweeze for them? 

So, what’s the deal here?

Kinda just a hairy mess.

I sorta feel sorry for this guy. I mean, it’s bad enough being an Anderson. But combine that last name with a super common first one, and your chance at any kind of notoriety is pretty slim. 

Unsurprisingly, when I search for “mike anderson,” I get nothing on our Mike – though I do get a running back, a photographer, a couple of real estate agents, and a dulcimer player (?!?!). “mike anderson baseball”? Well that does give us  a couple of hit for our guy, but even so almost all the hits are for a former coach at Nebraska. 

So, what did our Mike actually accomplish? How about 1,500 at bats over nine years and three teams? Career totals include a.246 average, 28 homers, 134 RBIs, and 159 runs. Basically a backup outfielder.

Much more clean-shaven … except … of course … for that little thing … up there …

Not exactly a household name himself, Tom Phoebus actually had a couple of real career highlights. In his rookie year, he pitched shutouts in his first two starts, went 14-9, and was named the Sporting News Pitching Rookie of the Year. In his sophomore season, he won 15 games, had a 2.62 ERA, and pitched a no-hitter. Unfortunately, after a trade to the woeful Padres and a dreadful 3-11 record with them, it was back to the minors for a year and then out of baseball. 

An article in the Baltimore Sun (he’s a local “Charm City” boy) tells us that Tom’s now retired and plays a lot of golf. It also ends by noting that those famous eyebrows “are turning grey and falling out.”

Ted Martinez was basically the Latino version of Mike Anderson. Here, let me show you:
Mike Ted
Years 9 9
Teams 3 4
At Bats 1,490 1,480
Average .246 .240
Home Runs 28 * 7
RBIs 134 108
Runs 159 165
Common Last Name? yes yes
Common First Name? yes not really
Unibrow? yes yes

* - Okay, so Mike had a little more pop.
The only other difference I can see is Ted was a middle infielder

Jack Clark was a bit of a poster boy for unibrows.

He was also a pretty decent ballplayer. In his 18 seasons in the bigs, he tallied 340 dingers and over 1000 RBIs and 1000 runs. He was a bit of a hothead, though, and got in fights and feuds with Lou Piniella (understandable), Frank Robinson (I can see that), Ozzie Smith (Ozzie Smith?), Albert Pujols (really???) and Tony Gwynn (?!?!).

The tiff with Pujols actually got him fired from a radio job in St. Louis and also involved in a lawsuit. Clark also managed to go bankrupt – because, if you believe Wikipedia, of his love for luxury cars:

According to his bankruptcy filing, he owned 18 luxury automobiles, including a $700,000 Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce. Clark was trying to pay 17 car notes simultaneously, and whenever he got bored with a car he would get rid of it and just buy another one. He ended up losing his 2.4 million-dollar home and his drag-racing business because of his extravagant spending habits.

Italian guys always seem to have an unfair advantage when it comes to these things.

Except for the last name, Frank Tepedino is another Mike Anderson / Ted Martinez. See for yourself:

Mike Ted Frank
Years 9 9 8
Teams 3 4 3
At Bats 1,490 1,480 507*
Average .246 .240 .241
Home Runs 28 7 6
RBIs 134 108 58*
Runs 159 165 50*
Common Last Name? yes yes no
Common First Name? yes sorta nah
Unibrow? yes yes yes

* – Okay, so these are a third of everybody else’s.  So what?  Just triple ‘em, and they’re pretty much identical.

Back to the hairy messes …

I’m glad “Bob” (I think we all remember his as “Bobby”) is wearing a hat in this one. Yup, the ‘stache and the brow were actually combined with a super 1970s, blow-dried nightmare. Don’t believe me? Check out this post.

I shared his stats there, but did you know that he:
  • Was an International League MVP
  • Loves to travel and has visited all 50 states
  • Is an avid golfer with a 2.5 handicap
  • Went by the nicknames “Bird” and “Lizard:”

And with Frankenstein bangs – at no extra charge!

Okay, a little controversy here … I’ve already got Larry Haney in this blog, in a Brow Bros post. That post, though, is really for guys with bushy brows that aren’t necessarily connected in the middle. Taking a close look at Larry’s card in that post, however, it’s obvious that he’s been tragically mis-categorized. I am deeply sorry for this sad turn of events and offer my sincerest apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my actions.

Sammy Stewart was really an ‘80s dude, but – thankfully – he did start his career in the ‘70s. I say “thankfully” because Sammy has probably the best (and by that, I mean worst) unibrow since Andy Etchebarren. 

Sammy’s a bit like Tom Phoebus. Not exactly a household name, he did however once lead the league in ERA. And what’s especially interesting about that accomplishment is that he did it largely as a reliever (albeit a heavily over-worked one). 

Sammy’s also a little bit like Jack Clark, in that his post-playing days were not so pretty. Instead of bankruptcy, though, Sammy’s retirement included meth addiction, a life of crime, and a six-year sentence in the pen. Happily, it sounds like he finally cleaned up his act.  

Want more synophrys victims?  Here’s some more from the ‘50s and the ‘60s.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Just Plain Ugly ('70s Version)

One of my Dad’s favorite expressions was “as ugly as a bucket full of assholes.” I have no idea where that came from, but it sure fits these guys …


Hard to believe, but this is Garry Gentry’s fourth appearance in this blog. The other three highlight his:
Well, Gary, sounds like you’ve got all your bases covered. 

BTW, if you want to know anything more about this guy, be sure to click on one of those links. I honestly don’t think I have anything more to say about him that hasn’t already been covered there.

Everybody liked this guy in Patton. Personally speaking, though, I much preferred him in Dr. Strangelove.

Interestingly, our George Scott is a George C. Scott as well. The only difference is that our guy is a Junior.

He was also a pretty decent ballplayer. A three-time All Star, Scott’s best year was 1975, where he led the AL in RBIs and tied for the lead in HRs. Overall, he jacked 271 “taters” (his word for them), knocked in over 1000 runs, and notched eight Gold Gloves to boot.

“Boomer” was also quite a character. Here are three good links telling the whole story:


Bobby Wine is another repeat offender. I’ve already got him down for a unibrow and jug ears. Not quite a Gary Gentry mind you but, hey, who is?

Those other posts covered his playing and managerial stats as well as his progeny. So, here’s some trivia.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that Bobby:
  • Once pulled the hidden ball trick on none other than Willie Mays
  • Got five of his 30 career homers off Hall of Famers (Warren Spahn, Juan Marichal & Bob Gibson)
  • Was once ejected, as a manager, for not getting his lineup card in on time
And here’s a recent article that mentions he’s living in Tommy LaSorda’s old house and is coaching Little Leaguers (at age 73).

Larry Hisle’s another frequent flyer. In that other post, we looked at his stats and up his nostrils.

What I didn’t mention there was that Larry was a respected hitting coach for a number of years after hanging up his spikes. He’s currently the Brewers’ Manager of Youth Outreach, and is also the president of Major League Mentoring, a youth program in Milwaukee. He seems like a genuinely great guy.

Yogi?  Is that you?  Yogi?

Ray Newman was up for a handful of years with the Cubs and Brewers. Though he finished with a career ERA under 3.00, he only got in 60-some innings.

His main claim to fame seems to be this great story, the Wikipedia version of which I will quote in full:

He became known for riding a bicycle to Wrigley Field. On one occasion, he was struck by a driver and was unable to pitch that day due to the mishap. Cubs manager Leo Durocher was not amused, and Newman was traded by the next spring. Durocher, talking about his team that year, referred to "this nut who used to ride a bicycle to the ballpark."

George Foster made a couple of all-ugly teams:
Click here for more ugliness (plus stats!)

I honestly don’t remember this guy at all, but it turns out he was up for 15 whole years. Of course, a lot of that was with the Pads … or as somebody else’s backup … or because he couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield ... 

Then again, maybe he was just so darn ugly that I’ve manage to repress all possible memories.

* - author has this card

Need more ugly? Check out there dudes from the '50s and '60s.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Say Cheesy!

Smiles are one of the few affect displays that are universal. In fact, we even share them with other primates, like chimps and monkeys (some primatologists claim that smiles are over 30 million years old). Supposedly, smiles come from a primate fear display that shows that the bearer is harmless. 

At the same time, I’m not totally sure what these guys are trying to convey here  …

That’s a good try there, Eric.  We’re not quite there yet, though, are we?

Eric Rasmussen’s been here before, where he looked even weirder (much, much weirder in fact). I touched on his stats there, and also mentioned his changing his name from Harold to Eric in the offseason one year ([insert player-to-be-named-later joke here]). I failed to mention, though, that Eric’s still in baseball, has been active coaching minor league pitchers since his playing days were over, and is currently the Minor League Pitching Coordinator for the Twins. 

That’s more like it. Eric, why can’t you just be more like Jim here?

Jim Wohlford was up for 15 years in the bigs, but was only a regular for a couple of those. He was your typical fourth outfielder, known more for his defense than anything else. 

Nonetheless, he did make the 100 Greatest Royals blog, coming in at #86. And that means he beat guys like Mike Hedlund and Rusty Meacham but, unfortunately, came behind others like Carlos Febles and Fran Healy.

File under “shit-eating grin”

Though I am sure Ken Griffey Sr. has more than enough to be grinning about. Think about it – 19 years, .296 career average, three All-Star appearances … And then there’s that kid of his – Jimbo, or Juno, or whatever his name is. 

Or is this his sister Jackie?

Jack Kucek sure did pitch like a girl. I’m talking a 5.12 ERA, a 1.668 WHIP, and a 7-16 record. And that’s about all there is to say about Mr. Kucek …

Oh, he did have four names – John Andrew Charles Kucek. And tells me that his nickname was indeed “Jackie.”

Byron was so proud of his new teeth.

Wikipedia cuts right to the chase with Byron Browne. It mentions that he made an out in Sandy Koufax’s perfect game for his first major league at bat and also that he had the “dubious distinction” of leading the league in strikeouts in 1966. It then goes on to say that Byron:

seldom delivered, particularly in the clutch. To some cynics, his chief contribution was the refreshing breeze on hot and humid South Philadelphia evenings which emanated from his regular swings and misses.

Hey, who wrote this thing? Was Byron’s ex involved at all?

Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Nate Colbert’s been in this blog before, where we put him down for being just plain ugly. I shared his (not unimpressive) stats there, but I didn’t share the following great story.

Turns out Nate once hit five homers and drove in 13 runs in a doubleheader. In so doing, he tied Stan Musial for the homer record and broke Stan’s record on the RBIs. What’s really interesting about that one, though, is that Nate was actually present – as a kid, in the stands – when Musial set his records. Pretty crazy, huh?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Before There Was Dentistry (‘70s Version)

They’re pretty handy things. In particular, “they function in mechanically breaking down items of food by cutting and crushing them in preparation for swallowing and digestion” (thanks, Wikipedia). 

That said, they’re also rather ornamental, being exposed prominently whenever we smile – or eat, talk, yawn, or open our mouth for any reason. And that’s why models, and actors, and politicians, and a lot of just plain folks make sure they’re all nice and white and straight and perfect. But not, apparently, baseball players …

He’s back! Yup, Pete Ward’s been here before, with much the same pose.

In that previous post, I shared some stats, but didn’t mention that Pete was from Canada. As a matter of fact, Pete was born in Montreal, where his dad played right wing for the Canadiens. Can’t get much more Canuck than that, eh?  Pete is also in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Not too bad. Definitely a little rodent-like though.

Jarvis Tatum’s Wikipedia entry comes in at a mere 35 words. Here it is, in its entirety:

Jarvis Tatum (October 11, 1946 – January 6, 2003) was a Major League Baseball center fielder who played for three seasons. He played for the California Angels from 1968 to 1970, playing in 102 career games.

Pretty much says it all, don’t it?

Alright, pretty bad. 

Wilbur Howard’s been here before as well, where we made fun of his signature. He wasn’t really smiling in that one, or I would have made fun of his teeth as well.

I didn’t share Wilbur’s stats in that post, so here we go … Six years, 1000 at bats, 6 homers, .250 average, 150 runs, 70 RBIs, 60 steals. Similar players include Albert Hall, Cecil Espy, and Boots Day.

Alright, alright. I know it’s an ’80. But those teeth are just so perfect.

Manny Sanguillen was one of my youthful heroes. He was the catcher for those great Pirate teams in the early ‘70s, and – like the rest of his teammates – could smack the heck out of the ball. Manny was up for 13 years, batted over .300 for four of those, and was a three-time All Star. He finished with a .296 average, the tenth-best all-time for catchers. 

Sanguillen was known in particular for swinging at anything. His career OBP was .326, less than 30 points more than his batting average. Interestingly, he’s from – not the Dominican Republic – but Panama.

I dunno … I’m thinking evil Japanese colonel in WWII prison movie. How ‘bout you?

I could have put this one under so many different categories. That said, here it is under “Teeth.” One of my all-time faves. 

Greg Minton was a pretty decent reliever. He lasted 16 years, finishing with 150 saves. He also set a record for most consecutive innings without giving up a home run – 269! That’s three full seasons!!!

He was also a real character, earning the nickname “Moon Man” through stunts that included:

  • Hijacking the team bus
  • Stealing the keys to the bullpen cart
  • Flooding a minor-league ballpark so the season would end one day early

Can’t get enough of that horrible dentition? Well, you’ll definitely want to check out these beauts from the ‘50s and ‘60s

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Weird-Ass Team Shots

About a hundred years ago, there was a real fashion for some rather strange team portraits. In these, the heads of individual players were cut out and then pasted onto some background. Here’s what a standard one of these “floating head” portraits looked like:

And here’s how a more creative one might appear:

And a really weird one:

Do check out Mr. Ford, in the lower left corner. Looks like he has a thing for Mr. Priest.
Not sure what was behind these. Who knows, maybe the X-ACTO knife had just been invented.

For some reason, a good fifty years later in the 1970s, this particular fashion came roaring back. And for some inexplicable reason, this fashion caught on overwhelmingly with Chicago teams.

Here, for example is the 76 White Sox team:

I really like the two in the upper left hand corner. That’s Cy Acosta in the corner. And the balloon head next to him is none other than Dick Allen. 

I also like the two in the lower left hand corner. It looks like Wilbur Wood’s head is half the size of Ron Santo’s.

For some reason, though, this look was most popular with the Cubs. Here’s their 1971 card:


Once again, I get a real kick out of the different size heads. Compare, for example, Ernie Banks and Don Kessinger, in the top right.

One thing I like about this one is the signatures. It gives you some idea who these guys actually are (though they are pretty tiny).

And the '72:

... which appears to be using the same head shots from 1971. Cheap bastards!

Here’s the ‘74 card:

This one’s got signatures, and numbers too, but they’re just too damn small to make anything out.

And here’s the ‘76:

Second row, fourth guy from the right and third row, second guy from the left might be the same guy.

Here’s the one from 1977:

A little crowded, huh? Great combo of different hair styles and facial hair though. In particular, I love the afros on Jose Cardenal and the dude in the top left (would love to know who he is). And is that Rick Reuschel over on the left with the glasses?

And, yes, these things did indeed continue into the '80s. I'll spare you though.

* - author has this card