A few days ago, our favorite She-Fan, Jane Heller, mused on her blog that she had let her mind wander, and it was a dangerous thing. Not only did that give me a good chuckle, I was reminded of this comic strip from Calvin and Hobbes:
Well, that’s the way I feel today – my mind is wandering, and right now it hasn’t come back (and my husband might argue that it never will). So until some substantive news comes out of the Phillies training camp, I guess I’ll just have to let you know where my mind has been lately.
First, baseball cards. Yeah, the new ones are all shiny and slick, with amazing action photography, or portraits worthy of a magazine cover. Yawn. What I really like are some of the cards from years past, the ones showcasing a really bad hair day, or that just made you wonder.
This card of Gus Zernial has always been one of my favorites, ever since I saw a picture of it as a kid, in a book called The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book. Now there’s a mouthful!
Gus was an outfielder for the Philadelphia A’s at the time of this photo. He also played for the White Sox and Tigers during his career. The back of the card notes that Gus “tied the major league record for the most home runs in 3 straight games with 6 circuit clouts and hit 7 in 4 straight games to tie the American League mark.” So of course I wondered why the photo only had six balls stuck on the bat, and not seven. More is better, right?
Also, though it might be hard to see here, Gus is wearing an obviously pink t-shirt under his uniform. Pink? I didn’t think that was too popular for men back in the early 1950s.
I was lucky enough to meet Gus at a book-signing in 2007, sponsored by the Philadelphia A’s Historical Society. So of course I had to ask him these two questions that had been burning in my mind for years. As for the 6 vs 7 balls, he explained that the day he tied the mark with six homers in three games, a photographer set up this shot (the balls are actually scotch-taped to the bat). Then of course in the next game he hit another homer.
And the shirt? Gus had had to do his own laundry, and a red item had gotten in with the t-shirts, turning all of them pink.
This particular card of Oscar Gamble always cracks me up (I’ll try to refrain from the obvious Mickey Mouse references, but there, I’ve said it anyway!):
Oh, the questions in my mind! What would his hair look like fully unleashed? How many sizes too large was his cap, in order to accomodate all that hair? And what a nasty case of cap-head he must have had at the end of a game!
Earlier this morning, I was browsing around mlb.com, and came across a story about a book of batting lineup poetry, called Complete Lineups. I admit that I’m not much of a poetry fan, and I can’t say that the excerpts cited did much to inspire me to buy this book. How, exactly, is this poetry?
They are all apparently great British poets, by the way. But it did remind me of an actual lineup from a co-ed softball team I played on during my tenure at a “major pharmaceutical company”, as they always say on game shows (Why can’t they ever actually say where they work? I guess it’s considered free advertising or something.)
The top of the batting order was always this:
Go ahead, say it out loud. It just doen’t sound good, does it? I swear, though, that these are actual people I once worked with.
Well, I better go try to round up my mind. Be a mind-wrangler, if you will. And maybe I’d better build it a corral.
(Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, Universal Press Syndicate)