Monday, May 16, 2011

#58 - Charlie Spikes (CLE)

You hit 23 homers for the Indians in the 70's and you look good.  You have a ballcard.  I think those sideburns are far out.  If Charlie's hobby had been acting, his sideburns should have made an appearance on Streets of San Francisco.  "Check out those chops, buddy-boy."  I could just hear Carl Malden.

Charlie only had two seasons as a really regular player, and 1974 was definitely his best.  His .271/22/80 would be respectable, like I said above regarding an Indians player.  Charlie broke in with the Yanks in '72, playing 14 games, and wearing uniform #42, Mariano Rivera's future number.  Not to mention, Jackie Robinson's future retired number.  I'm sure Rivera will have his retired.  Although I don't really remember Spikes as a player, I sure remember this card as a kid.  He deserves to be in the sideburns Hall of Fame.

Cartoon: Well, it's obvious that Charlie isn't making a living at his hobby.  Or is he?  The baseball card world may never know...

Ballpark background: Yankee Stadium, no doubt.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#57 - Darold Knowles (OAK)

Another of my childhood A's memory players who played for the World Champs. I didn't know there was a league named after Ban Johnson, as one of the "stars" shows.  Babe Ruth, yes.  Cal Ripken, yes.  But Ban Johnson?  He's the founder of the American League in 1901.  Darold has some interesting post-season numbers.  He has no stats at all for either the 1972 or 1974 post-seasons despite being with the A's then, and no stats for the 1973 ALCS.  He did, however, pitch in all seven games of the 1973 World Series against the Mets.  Just days after the 1974 World Series victory, Knowles was traded to the Cubs for Billy Williams.  The 1974 season, with the DH being only one year old by then, was the only season of Knowles career that he didn't have a single plate appearance.

Cartoon: Darold pitched a no-hitter before his career even began?  Was this in the minors?  Little League?  Playing Strat-O-Matic with his kid brother?  And he lost the no-no.  But back in the 80's or 90's sometime, MLB revised their rules for deciding what a no-hitter was.  They concluded that a no-no must be a nine inning game for the pitching team.  So if Darold lost a no-no, he could have pitched only 8 innings as the visiting pitcher because the home team didn't need to come to bat in the bottom of the ninth.  I remember a number of no-hitters were erased by the rule change, including losing no-no's and rain-shortened ones that completed 5 innings.  So, sorry Darold.  Your cartoon might even be obsolete today.

Ballpark background: Texas Ranger gray uni's combined with California gold tops and wedding gown white bottoms combined with the outfield fence in Oakland means that this was played in Oakland.  At the Coliseum.

Situation ID: I believe I've identified exactly when this picture was taken.  I checked games in 1973, and determined that it was taken on July 28, 1973.  Card blogger "wobs" at 1974 Topps - Pennant Fever (who is now far ahead of me in blogging this same '74 set - click here for his post) suggested some Ranger names for the runner on second base.  What's interesting about this "action" shot is that the runner is standing on top of the base with his hands on his hips.  That's because, as a relief pitcher, this photo was taken during Knowles' warmups.  Checking all the 1973 home games vs. the Rangers when Knowles relieved while a runner was on second revealed only one possibility.  The runner is Jim Mason and Knowles is relieving John "Blue Moon" Odom after Mason's single knocked in Billings from second base and Mason took second on the throw back in, knocking Odom out of the game.  So, this was taken in the top of the 5th inning on 07/28/73.  Here's the link with the box score and play-by-play account.