Saturday, December 20, 2014

Just Plain Weird: A '70s Miscellany

“One of a kind” is usually a good thing, right? But, then again, not all the time. I mean, like with these guys here …

The original player to be named later, Harry’s been in this blog before, but as Eric (here and here). Yup, he legally changed his name after the 1976 season. I have no idea why.

Now, it is true that his ’76 season was something that might make you want to change your identity (6-12 record), but it honestly really wasn’t all that different from the rest of his career. I’d love to know the story on this one.


Carl, you’re supposed to put the lipstick on both lips. Yeah, the upper one too.

Carl Taylor has also been here before. I shared his stats in that post, but didn’t mention this great story about how he left baseball ...

Well, it just so happened that, while playing for the Royals in Baltimore, Taylor took himself out of the game, told manager Bob Lemon “I quit,” then burnt his uniform and baseball equipment in the locker room before going AWOL.

And who hasn’t dreamed of doing just that?

Nice tan, Moe.  Did you fall asleep at the pool again?  After that fifth margarita?  Don’t you hate when that happens?

Moe is one of only 4 major leaguers who were born in Poland. Nap Kloza, Henry Peploski, and Johnny Redder were no Moe Drabowsky however. Moe was up in the bigs for 17 years to their 4, and was in 589 games to their 45.

Primarily a setup man, Moe bounced around quite a bit, playing with 8 different teams. His other main claim to fame is being one of only 4 players who played with both the Kansas City A's and the Kansas City Royals.

Moe was a big-time character. Some of his many antics include:

  • Giving a hotfoot to Bowie Kuhn
  • Getting wheeled to 1st base in after being hit by a pitch
  • Faking a call to the opponent team's bullpen and getting a reliever to start warming up

You’ve heard of Walt “No Neck” Williams, right?  Well, Tom was known as “Cold Neck.”  Tom “Cold Neck” Murphy.  I am not making this up. 

Alright, I’m making this up.

"Sign program? Catch pop up? Sign program? Catch pop up?"

Everybody knows this guy. The great name. The monster blasts. The 573 homers. The bald pate.

I’ll bet you didn’t know, though, that:

  • He was under 6’ tall
  • He was a high-school All-American quarterback
  • His dad was a college All-American in football as well
  • He was the youngest player in the majors when called up
  • He was the first player elected to the All Star game from three different positions (3B, OF & 1B)
  • He is the only Idahoan ever elected to the Hall of Fame (and only one of 28 Idahoans to even play)
  • He was a Mormon

He's also known as one of the nicest guys to ever play the game.

I believe someone might have painted this one.

Well, we’ve got our choices for this guy. According to Wikipedia, he could be:

  • “A superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics and acts as a sidekick to the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Rom the Spaceknight, and Captain Marvel”
  • A Michigan state senator
  • “Author of the Vatican Knights series and Tombs of Eden!”
  • “The proprietor of the largest, coolest used piano store on Earth!”
  • The previous head coach of the Tulane Green Wave baseball team
  • A left-handed pitcher who was up for 3 years in the late ‘70s, finishing with a 6-9 record and a 4.02 ERA

Yeah, it's the last one. He’s the last one.

Jewelry violation! Jewelry violation! This obviously isn’t something that comes up in the majors, but when I was coaching youth baseball (as well as playing co-rec softball), there was such a thing as a jewelry violation. This is when some necklace, on male or female, threatened to put the health and safety of both teams at risk. I was never sure how that would actually come about, but hey …

BTW, George used to say this necklace was made out of the teeth of second basemen.

More George right here.

And everyone wondered why this particular idea wasn’t repeated the next year …

In addition to being a world-famous accordion player, Jim Fregosi was also a pretty decent baseball player. He was arguably the first real star for the brand-new Los Angeles Angels, and was a six-time All Star for them. He also managed for 15 years, and finished with over 1000 wins.

This is just so damn cute. Bobby “Alfalfa” Murcer. Possibly my favorite card of all time.

Bobby Murcer just also happened to be one of my favorite players when I was growing up. For some reason, I was a bit of a Yankees fan back then. Being the huge history fan that I am, I’m sure it had something to with their storied past. You’ll be happy to know, though, that when Steinbrenner, and Martin, and Reggie, and all the gang came along a few years later, I dropped them like a hot potato.

One of these things is not like the other / One of these things just doesn’t belong / One of these things is not like the other / Can you guess which one before I finish my song?

Yup, it’s John Hilton. Here, let’s see why:

Mike Ron John
Years 18 17 4
HRs 548 316 6
MVPs 3 0 0
All Star appearances 12 6 0
Gold Gloves 10 0 0
Hall of Fame Yes No No
Rookie of the Year No No No
Dorky specs Yes Yes No

Quadruple threat!  We’ve got (clockwise from top left) too-dark shades, a hairdo that would look nice on a girl, a super lame fu Manchu, and eyes half-closed.

Tom Hume and Steve McCatty actually were real, live legitimate major-league baseball players. Hume was up for 11 years, finishing just short of 100 saves and garnering one All-Star berth. McCatty was up for nine years, and once led the AL in wins and ERA. Okay, okay, it was for strike-shortened 1981, but still …

Larry Landreth and Bruce Taylor? I’ve got Larry down for 20 innings over two years, with a 1-4 record and a 6.46 ERA. He was a real, live Canadian though. Bruce? How about three years, with a 3.86 ERA and a 2-2 record? He was from Massachusetts, by the way.

* - author has this card

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