Monday, October 6, 2014

Uniforms I

Hot pants.  Flares.  Tube tops.  Leisure suits.  Palazzo pants.  Nehru jackets.  Earth shoes.  

And then there were these guys …

I blame the Pilots. 

Steve Hovley ... If you can remember this guy, there’s probably a pretty good chance you’ve read Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. In that classic, we learned that Steve:

  • Was a Stanford grad
  • Liked to read Nietzsche
  • Went by the nickname “Orbit”

Really, I do. (Blame the Pilots, that is.)

Bobby Bolin didn’t make many appearances in Ball Four. But, then again, he didn’t score too high on the zany character meter either. 

He was, however, a fairly decent player. Some of his accomplishments included:

  • Posting a sub 2.00 ERA in 1968 (and finishing second behind Bob Gibson’s record-setting 1.12)
  • Finishing in the top ten three times for ERA and WHIP
  • Finishing in the top ten twice for shutouts and K’s per nine innings

Sorry – I have no idea which German philosophers Bolin favored.

Now pitching for Poteat’s Collision Service’s Softball All-Stars  … 

Joe Hoerner was a pretty decent pitcher as well. A reliever, he finished with a 2.99 ERA over 14 years. 

Looks like there’s a fair amount of interesting factoids out there about Joe. Did you know, for example, that he:

  • Had a heart condition that forced him to switch to throwing sidearm
  • Played in the minors for nine years
  • Never started a game in the bigs
  • Had a home run for his first major league hit
  • Was the first player to get a hit in the World Series without getting a hit in the regular season
  • Limited Hank Aaron to a .000 average over 21 at bats
  • Was ejected in his last major league appearance
  • Died in a farming accident

Super bio of him right here.

Mike was the right side of Poteat’s killer pitching staff.

Mike Thompson’s been here before, where we made fun of his ears. I shared his stats there. 

Actually, I really couldn’t find much else on ol’ Mike. Indeed, “Mike Thompson” appears to be a very common name. Wikipedia lists 21 of these dudes, including two MLB pitchers, a congressman, a star of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and a former leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. (By the way, our Mike Thompson is only one of those.)

Francisco picked up this ensemble at the local truck stop, right off the interstate.  

We can’t really blame Francisco, though, can we? It was owner Bill Veeck who did pretty much all he could to ensure that, if you played for his team sometime during the ‘70s, you were going to look like a complete dork at some point or other.

And poor Francisco Barrios played his entire career with the Chisox – and from the years 1974 to 1981 to boot. His main claim to fame appears to be being part of a no-hitter with John “Blue Moon” Odom (with Odom pitching five innings and Barrios four).

All the style of a trash bag. 

Jorge Orta was actually not a bad ballplayer. He was up for 16 years, finishing with not quite 6,000 at bats. He was also a two-time All Star. 

Now, that’s all fine and good, but what poor Jorge will always be remembered for is a single play, a play that has been called “one of the most controversial play in World Series history” (and that on Wikipedia, no less!). 

Let me set the scene … It’s 1985. The Royals are playing the Cards. The Cards are up three games to two. The sixth game has gone to the bottom of the ninth, with the Cards leading 1-0. Jorge comes to the plate as a pinch hitter. 

Jorge hits a slow roller to first baseman Jack Clark. Pitcher Todd Worrell covers the bag and Jorge is out. Or is he? Umpire Don Denkinger actually calls him safe. 

The Royals then go on to win the game, and then the next game, and are World Champions. But would that have happened if Jorge had been called out?  You make the call (tape right here)!

Larry’s not a White Sock, but that’s definitely a garbage bag. 

Larry Dierker had a pretty distinguished career. He started by making his major league debut on his 18th birthday (striking out Willie Mays in his first inning to boot!). He would then go on to be the Astros’ first 20-game winner, make the All Star squad twice, and throw a no hitter. He would then go on to manage the ‘Stros for five years, finishing with a wonderful 435-348 regular season record, but a woeful 2-12 one in the post-season. Houston retired his number in 2002. 

Oh oh.  Here they come.  Astro alert!  Astro alert! 

Greg Gross was one of the better pinch hitters of all time. He currently ranks fifth in number of career pinch hits. He was also famously hard to strike out, notching only 250 K’s in 2475 at bats. A true “baseball lifer” and lover of the game, Greg’s been a long-time minor league hitting coach. 

The Astros … in all their full glory. 

In a way, Larry Dierker and Ken Forsch are twins:

Larry Ken
# of Years 14 16
Record 139-123 114-113
ERA 3.31 3.37
WHIP 1.217 1.249
K's 1,493 * 1,047
No-hitter? Yes Yes
All-Star? 2 years 2 years

* - Okay, so Larry threw a little harder.

As it turns out, Ken actually did have a brother in the majors, Bob Forsch. And his numbers are eerily similar to Ken and Larry’s, right down to the no-hitter (actually, though, Bob had two).

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