Monday Minutia, more crumbs and nuggets that fell under the baseball table and the dog failed to lap up.
In the National League Championship Series, Jose Valentin was hit in the face with a pitch that bounced prior to reaching the plate. For this he was rewarded first base and yet another nuance in the game I’ve never seen occurred.
The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when —
(a) Four “balls” have been called by the umpire;
(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless
(1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or
(2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball, If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
See no mention of the ball bouncing, query me early last week and I would have thought the ball dead, for I had never encountered it in the game, so I didn’t know the right answer… but now I’ve seen it and I’m looking to find some more things that I didn’t know. This game is full of them, in the game, in the players and in the fans there is a wealth of things that connect with the game and the people that have come and gone and some come back. Shoot, even the stolen base left once and came back, only to leave again, don’t be surprised when it shows up at baseballs doorstep grinning ear to ear some day in the future.
My personal history with the game first took firm root on October 1oth 1968, when my babysitter Donna McLeod was screaming and jumping around the house in celebration of the Tigers win in game 7 of the 1968 World Series, as she leapt around I stared at the screen and pondered, what can be so wonderful that everyone would act like that? And since that day I’ve been looking for more of that wherever I can.
With that in mind let’s peruse through some of things you don’t see too often in today’s game, either they receded, changed or just faded away, but they’ll always be there.
Back before replica jerseys and even prior to the t-shirt bonanza of the late 60’s and into the 70’s fans often wore their allegiance to the team on their lapels. Of course I’m talking about buttons. Simple pin back models that shouted to the world which of the teams out there on the field you were rooting for.
The Buttons here represent the Cubs during a more productive era, a Rickey era Cardinal Button and a “Colored” All Stars piece from the 1930’s.
Below are a few examples of the basic booster buttons one would find on fans at Crosley in the 40’s and then the 50’s (Red Legs)
Speaking of buttons this one is my all-time favorite player Al Kaline, it’s in honor of Al Kaline Day, and on the button Al is in a batting stance, with a batting glove on ONE hand, yes kids, players used to only wear one batting glove, and prior to that they didn’t wear the at all. As a kid who wore one batting glove as well I note Al’s is on his top hand, which seems strange to me, especially since this kid always wore his on his bottom hand. If anyone has an explanation about this, let us know.
So…. If you’re still pondering the golf glove, er… I mean “batting glove” then let’s take this moment to say Hi and hello to the man who brought the darn things in to the game.
Ken “Hawk” Harrelson
Also the first “Mod” in the game by most accounts.
Nice threads Hawk….
Oh yeah…. The glove is what we were pondering, well according to Ken this is how it went down.
I think it was in ’63. I was platooning, and we were playing the Yankees. They were supposed to be pitching Jim Coates, which meant I wasn’t going to play. So, Ted Bowsfield and I went out and played 36 holes with Sammy Esposito and Gino Cimoli. I was making more money playing golf than playing baseball. I was a better golfer, first of all. So, I went from the golf course to the ballpark, and I look at the lineup, and I’m hitting third. I go down and take batting practice and I had worn a blister from the 36 holes. I remember I had my golf gloves in my pants and I ran up and got them. Everybody said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I had a blister.” Whitey Ford hung me a curve and I hit it out and we won the ballgame. The next day, we’re out there taking batting practice and the Yankees come down and they all had red golf gloves on. Mickey Mantle had the clubhouse guy go buy a couple dozen golf gloves. That’s how the whole thing with batting gloves got started.
So from buttons and gloves we jump to the inevitable, the baseball card. We know they’re still out there, they still exist, and that however is not my concern. My stacks of Leaf, Donruss, Score and Upper Deck Cards from the late 80’s and early 90’s is where I stopped my caring for the modern card, or even the handling of the damn things. Now I find the rush from an old card as the thing that fires my synapses. Especially cards that make you go hey – wait a minute, therefore here are a few that made me do that.
Sometimes a card would be in the deck, one that that just looked wrong, often they were this type.
Yep, players on teams other then the ones you associate them with (in your mind that is)
Then there are the teasers, the little things you might have forgot
Did you know that the Reds were the only team in MLB history to have the players name BENEATH the number on the back of the jersey?
Well, you do now.
Back in the day there always seemed to be a team that was being courted by the boys in the Capital, despite losing two teams they always wanted another (see perseverance pays off.) This one shows a “possible” move to D.C. for the Padres…ooops!
Mr. Kroc took care of that, but not before Topps committed the above blunder and packaged it.
Before all of us were born folks could attend a game at the park and expect to get a seat in the roped off area in the outfield, the introduction of the home run and the eventual need for bleacher seats would make this a relic of the past by the time the majority of us were even learning to count. The pictures below are the crowd overflow at the Palace of the Fans in 1905, note the Grandstand in the background. That is the remainder of the prior Grandstand that stood before League Park (Palace Version) was built. When the Palace was built they replaced the setup of the park, this took the Sun out of the batters eyes and placed it in the field where it belonged.
My take is that the guys who made hats back were making bank.
In honor of the end of this week’s Monday Minutia let’s walk across the field on our way home. Back in the day when a game was over often fans could pop over the rail and walk across the field to the exit that best suited them (Maybe that’s why so many old parks had inferior hallways behind the bleachers?) The photo below is the departing crowd at Griffith Stadium after the game, oh that’s in the aforementioned D.C.