Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Incredible Floating Coach Heads

I thought I was finished with this blog (see last week), then I discovered these beauties. Not only did someone come up with the brilliant idea of showing a card with the grumpy old guys that make up a team’s coaching staff, but they also decided to cut out their heads and stick them on an incredibly ugly yellow-orange background. To top it all off, they separated the floating heads by off-skew lines that practically shout, “I am a hip and happening graphic designer in the year 1960.”

Needless to say, none of these ideas were ever used again. Enjoy!

Luke Appling was actually a Hall of Famer. Billy Hitchcock was a baseball lifer, playing for nine years, managing for three, and serving as coach, scout, and minor league president. Tom Ferrick was the pitching coach, and was in the bigs for nine years as well. Interestingly, for four years he both studied for the priesthood and played minor league ball at the same time.

Bob Lemon’s another Hall of Famer. Mel Harder was another good pitcher, but no Hall of Famer. Jo-Jo White was an African-American basketball player who starred for the Celtics in the ‘70s. Red Kress is the name of a salad green.

“Fat Freddie” Fitzsimmons was another decent major league pitcher, with a 19-year career and a sparkling 217-146 record. Walker Cooper was a pretty decent catcher, getting in the All Star game no less than eight times. Don Heffner was not the brother of Hugh.

You may actually know all four of these guys. Bill Dickey and Frank Crosetti were both lifetime Yankees, with Dickey making it to Cooperstown. Eddie Lopat played most of his career with the Yanks, and was the pitching coach. Ralph Houk would go on to skipper the Yankees, winning two Series for them. Overall, he would manage for 20 years and win over 1600 games.

Mickey Vernon was an excellent hitter, coached first, and has graced this blog before. Bill Burwell was the pitching coach, and won an incredible 239 minor league games. Sam Narron was another career minor leaguer and was the bullpen coach. He comes from quite the baseball family, with two nephews and one grandson making the bigs. Our final minor league veteran is Frank Oceak. He’s most famous for being the third base coach who celebrates with Mazeroski as Maz rounds third after hitting his Series-winning homer.

Ray Berres, a backup catcher for 11 years in the bigs, was the White Sox pitching coach for almost 20. He lived to be 99. Don Gutteridge, a 12-year major leaguer, would manage the Chisox for two years. He lived to be 96. Tony Cuccinello and Johnny Cooney lived to ages 87 and 86 respectively.

Wes Westrum’s been in this blog before, where we caught him as manager of the early Mets (poor guy). The wonderfully named Salty Parker spent one month in the bigs, 23 years in the minors, and 11 years as a major league coach. The equally wonderfully nicknamed “Barnacle Bill” Posedel was a major-league pitching coach for 18 years.

Wait a minute. Someone did use this idea again. Now, I just can’t decide if this was done in the spirit of serious nostalgia or simply as a joke.

I think it’s safe to say this one was a joke.

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