Friday, December 3, 2010
Andy Kosco. Member of the Big Red Machine. Really? I simply don't remember him when I was a kid. I glanced at the 1974 Reds roster - 35 players are listed for the entire season - and Andy is one of only four players I don't readily recognize. Man, with a 25 man roster, I easily recognize 31? It's amazing what baseball cards, radio and TV can do to a kid's mind. That stuff in ingrained in the brain.
Here, Kosco looks like a daunting figure, maybe a Ted Kluszewski Lite. He just looks like a big man. As I'm keeping track of in the labels, not many ballplayers in '74 were over 200 lbs. Andy played 10 seasons in the majors, for 7 teams and had 8 uniform numbers. As it turns out, 1974 was his last year. And since he batted only .189 in 37 at bats, I'm sure this was his last card, too. His last game was on July 30, even though he wasn't released by the Reds until October 25. His card says he was an outfielder, yet he played third base in '74 more than twice as often as the outfield.
Cartoon: A home run into the bleachers? Big deal. The ball has shoe polish and a bandaid on it, no doubt pitched by Mike Scott. So how did Big Andy hit it so far? Well, even thought the fence was 461 feet to left center at Yankee Stadium, this card came out when the Big Ballpark in the Bronx was being remodeled. The fence was considerably shortened to, like, 399 feet in left center.
Ballpark background: Okay, this is Shea Stadium again. Same light tower, same flag. Same yawn.