I remember exactly where I was on February 25, 1972. I was eating a slice of Sicilian pizza at V&J Pizza on Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne, New Jersey, right next door to the Jerry Lewis Cinema (which later became a porn house), across the parking lot from Robert Hall. The TV was on over the counter, and a sports report said that the Phillies had traded Rick Wise to St. Louis for Steve Carlton, and I remember thinking, hey, Wise pitched well for the Phillies on a bad team- I'm surprised they traded him. Even at that very young age, I was a terrible judge of talent.
V&J still exists, although it has apparently moved. It was among my favorite pizza joints when I was a kid. I wonder if it's still any good.
Yes, "acid" is correct.
And speaking of guys best known for off-the-field activities, it's Bo Belinsky's running mate:
For a guy who was semi-legendary for his exploits on the L.A. party circuit, and also perceived as a bust who threw his arm out early, he won 20 games twice, had a career ERA under 3, won the Cy Young Award at 23 and the Comeback Player of the Year in the AL in '67. On the other hand, he was out of baseball by the age of 30. His record for the Mets in 1970? 0-1, 13.50 ERA in three games. This was the 1971 card- by the time Spring Training was over, he was traded to the Tigers, where he didn't last the season. Turns out, by the way, that be became a pretty big deal in the boxing world- he's the president ot the IBA.
Check out the airbrush job on this:
Topps would airbrush out the logos on caps after a guy changed teams. Bunker went to Kansas City in the exp[ansion draft, so they wouldn't have a picture of him in a K.C. cap and uniform. In Wally's case, though, this 1969 card used a picture of him from 1965 at the latest- the uniform is the Orioles' early-60's style. Maybe it was easier to airbrush because the cap peak was black in those days and orange in 1966 and later, but it's still odd to go back four years.
I always associated Wally Bunker with Bob and Ray. It's the name, of course.
On July 5, 1970, at Connie Mack Stadium in North Philadelphia, I saw this guy get a save:
Mets 5, Phillies 4. It was my birthday, and we took Amtrak from Newark to North Philly, walked that scary few blocks to the ballpark, and settled in just a few rows behind the Mets dugout along the first base line. Jerry Koosman won the game, Woodie Fryman lost it, Ron Swoboda hit one for the Mets and Deron Johnson one for the Phillies. The day before, Donn Clendenon had hit one over the center field fence, a massive wallop. The thing I remember most was the last Phillies pitcher, Lowell Palmer, who pitched wearing sunglasses, an unforgettable sight, and Doc Edwards catching- he'd retired and gone into coaching, but got pressed back into service, seemingly ancient, although he was only 33. Frisella pitched two innings and gave up a run but got the save.
It's sobering to realize how many of the guys who played in that game are gone- Tommie Agee, Donn Clendenon, Joe Foy, Deron Johnson, Rick Joseph, Dick Selma, and, of course, Frisella, killed in a dune buggy accident during the off season between the '76 and '77 seasons. I think that was one of the early times I realized that relatively young people could die, too.
I saw this guy pitch, but there's only one thing I really remember about him. Can you guess what it is? Hint: it has something to do with my career:
Steve Arlin's grandfather was a pioneer radio broadcaster and supposedly the first to do baseball and football play-by-play on the radio, at KDKA/Pittsburgh in 1971. Whatever he did as a pitcher, Steve Arlin will always be the guy whose grandfather did the first baseball broadcast.
Does this not look like Al Downing's watching number 715 fly over his head on the way over the left field wall in Atlanta?:
And, finally, I'll bet you thought Rollie Fingers was born with That Mustache: