Stuff I Found While Looking For Other Stuff

It never fails. Go looking for anything – from your comb to your Jamie Roseboro 1990 Bowman Glossy Baseball Card, and invariably you’ll stumble across something else. Which explains this card of Robinson Cano’s father, Jose. You may have seen him throwing (and rather successfully) to his son at the Home Run Hitting Contest before the All-Star Game. But the elder Cano actually became associated with the Yankees a quarter century before his son made the team. He signed with them as an 18-year old free agent out of the Dominican in 1980, but lasted just three games with their rookie league team before going home. Little Robby was born two years later, and then Dad returned to this country – and the minors – in ’83 in the Braves system, and made it to the majors in ’89 with the Astros. He pitched only six games, but started three of them, and actually pitched a pretty neat looking seven-hit complete game win over the Reds on the penultimate day of the 1989 season. That would be his last big league appearance, though he did get on two cards in ’90, and this is one of them.

The next thing to fall out of the fast pile of stuff that is “the collection” is nothing less than a 1977 TCMA card of a career minor league infielder who would only play 88 games higher than A-ball, and then branch off into another field. Yes, that’s the same Scott Boras, agent to the stars and scourge of general managers and owners everywhere. Boras spent a little more than two seasons with the St. Petersburg Cardinals of the Florida State League, and would actually hit .346 in 22 games during the season in which the card was made before moving up to AA and then winding up in the Cubs’ system. His knees gave up on him, and he went to pursue an alternative career – as a pharmacist. He got that degree and then one in law, and then wound up representing his high school teammate, former big league infielder Mike Fischlin – and the rest was a history of gnashed teeth. Mostly a second baseman and third baseman, Boras actually has some good company in that ’77 set: later Cards’ second base hero Tommy Herr, current Pirates’ pitching coach Ray Searage, and other future major leaguers like Benny Joe Edelen, John Fulgham, John Littlefield, Danny O’Brien, Kelly Paris.

But my favorite rediscovered find is a (slightly) mislabeled 1968 Yankees’ scorecard. The reason I’m showing the cover will be explained below.

The nine-and-a-half-year-old me has marked “September 18″ (because that’s the date of the stats inside, as you’ll see below) on the scorecard with the then-state-of-the-art sequence of Mickey Mantle photos. But the game was actually played on the night of September 20, 1968. I remember it vividly, but not for the reason I should. For some reason I can neither recall nor locate, they turned out the lights at Yankee Stadium for the national anthem, and either there was just a light on the singer or band that played it, or people held up lights, or something bizarre. But check out my scorecard – particularly the third inning:

Yep. In the third inning, against Boston’s Jim Lonborg, Mantle – as the four horizontal lines suggest – homered.

It was the 536th – and final – home run of his career.

I saw Mantle’s last homer. But I remember the darkened Stadium much more clearly.

If you’re wondering, this isn’t a bad scorecard for a nine-year old kid. I’ve already got the concept of marking runs batted in (the asterisks) although I was still dabbling with the backwards “K” for a walk. It was popular at the time.

I only became a baseball fan in 1967 so I didn’t get to see very much Mantlean glory. But in addition to the farewell blast (which was also his next-to-last hit; he singled on September 25 versus Cleveland, costing Luis Tiant a no-hitter), earlier in 1968 I saw him hit a homer in the same game as a brash young kid from Oakland hit one. Fella was named Reggie Jackson.

 

32 Comments

I happened to see Ernie Banks final homer in a 1971 Cubs-Reds contest…it was fairly early in the season and I kept telling everyone that he hadn’t homered since.

Interesting bit of trivia: the first African American recruited to play football at the University of Texas signed with the Orioles instead. His name: Don Baylor

I think it’s really awesome that you shared this with us. Thanks! (:

I agree, that was nice! Thanks for sharing. Better handwriting than I could do at 9 yrs.

Keith – I think you can relate to my own blog post from a couple of weeks ago when I unearthed a baseball scrapbook of mine circa ’76-’80. Not only did I cut out articles on post season happenings, I also save an entire season of box scores for the Dodgers & Red Sox! Plus, there’s some autographs I got attending Angels games – including the aforementioned Luis Tiant AND Lyman Bostock just a few weeks before he was killed:
http://treesflowersbirds.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/you-know-you-are-a-geek-who-grew-in-the-70s-when/

Somewhere I have a picture I took from the press box at Fenway Park. It was the late 70s, I was in my early teens, and the picture was of the top of the narrow-brimmed fedora on the head of Luis Tiant’s dad, who had been given permission by the Cuban government to see his son pitch, and was sitting about 8 rows back behind home plate. My dad was covering it, for the Today Show, probably, and had let me tag along. I can’t see a fedora or Luis Tiant’s name without remembering that.

Wow! This one made me cry. The love you have for that game is tangible. How precious these cards, especially that scorecard, with the younger version at the helm. I can see that game in my mind, thanks to you! 25 cents it was then for the program. Gee. I recall when everything was a nickel, dime or quarter. But you know what the memories are worth. I love that you have some in your mind as vivid now as they were then. Nostalgic and bittersweet, for sure. I know we are to live in the now present moment, as all things happen there. The past and future are only concepts…but what a tribute this is to that time, to that game, and even to that boy! I am so proud of you for being the best, Keith Olbermann! I cannot fathom what it would be like to have such treasures to stumble over. Anyone who sees you as anything other than wonderful is sadly mistaken. Cano is one of my favorite players…and how divine to meet his dad here! Scott Boras is as handsome as Kurt Russell. And I can almost taste the DuVal ice cream! Thanks for taking us all out to the ol’ ball game! Hugs.

I missed seeing Mantle by a few months. I was eight years old and we were in NY on our yearly vacation to see family. My uncle took me to my first MLB game, a doubleheader against the Seattle Pilots on September 1,1969. It was Bobby Murcer bat day and he hit two homers in the first game but I was bummed out that Joe Pepitone,who in my mind at the time was the coolest baseball player ever, didn’t play. Still remember how cool it was to walk across the field to leave the stadium.

Cool, Carl. I can only imagine that walk across the field to leave the stadium. I have never been to a MLB game, but I have it on my bucket list! Sweet memories.

Nice job

Ps. Tommy Herr. Only thing I know about him is the ill fated trade the Twins made for him in 1988. It just was not a good fit and we traded Bruno (Tom Brunansky). To get him. It still hurts after all these years.

Mantle

My dad would take me to Met Stadium whenever the twins played the Yankees so I could see Mickey.

I really don’t remember seeing Mickey play. I just remember that my dad took me. :-)

Jess…that is the part to remember. Wow! That is the best! If my dad could have, I bet he would have. :o)

I wish you would think of exhibiting your memorabilia somewhere. With what you’ve shared with us through the site over the years, as well as your personal photos, it’s a treasure trove of baseball that many of us may never get the chance to ever see without the trek to upstate New York.

Think about it. This Arizona Red Sox fan would make the trip.

Kim, I would go too! And I know lots of other twitter followers he has who would delight in the chance to see his booty! Perhaps treasure trove is a better way to say…like you said. I would slither up from Louisiana for sure!

I was looking at the Yankee roster on the scorecard. There are a few future managers/GMs (Howser, Cox and Michael), the guy who gave up Aaron’s 715th (Downing) and the future Yankee pitching coach (Stottlemyre). That was the year Colavito was with the Yankees (and pitched, and won a game, I was there for that one)

The other Jose Cano card can be seen here, in a blog post I did “updating” Topps’ Father/Son cards from 1985. These new “cards” only exist in this post, however. I know of no plans to resurrect the subset. Keith has much better Topps connections and might actually be able to make something happen on that front.

NJ Baseball, I tried to reply there at the father/son display, but was not able to do it. I want to thank you so much for showing us these cards! What larks! What chips off the ol’ blocks! Some look more like their dads than their dads! I must say the Cano team really is special to me. What beautiful men! I just love father-son! Hugs!

Wow – what a bad team they were then. As a young boy I was fascinated by the great teams of the early sixties and I really started following them in 1965 – talk about bad timing! But every game I faithfully followed them on the radio with Horace Clarke and Roy White being my favorites. I don’t think I saw them on TV for three years but never missed a game on the radio listening to Phil.

Pingback: Una vecchia figurina degli Astros e l’ultimo home run di Mickey Mantle « STOLEN BASE

That also was the year in which Drysdale had his 56-inning scoreless streak and Bob Gibson had an ERA of negative 3 (actually, 1.12), so there weren’t a lot of home runs to see. Also, while the Yankees were bad, the Dodgers finished 7th after finishing 8th the year before–a good reminder for fans who think that today’s team is unprecedentedly unsuccessful.

Keith, you brought back memories of my first game, for which I do not have a scorecard, but I have something better: a National League baseball signed by Chub Feeney with a mark over his signature where Cito Gaston hit a pitch thrown by Al Downing. It went into the club level at Dodger Stadium, bounced around, hit me on top of the helmet, and landed in my dad’s arms. August 1, 1974, the night I also got to meet my idol. He looked down at me, smiled, and said, “So you’re the guy who wants my job!” Vin wouldn’t remember it, but I do. Next to my wedding day, the greatest day of my life.

Wow, Michael! What a story! Fate had you in the right time and the right place on that day! Made me tear up. Thanks for sharing it with us. Amazing!

Was the Bill Robinson home run an inside-the-park (Looks like ‘IP” marked on the scorecard)? The Yanks had a nice run toward the end of ’68 to finish over .500 for the first time since ’64.

we Love Baseball and Baseball games i play everday http://gamebolo.com/baseball-game/ In Baseball game, aim the ball to land in the targ…

Thanks, Eddie! At another venue, we were just wondering when a lady would get to play baseball…and we thought if she did, she would be a pitcher! I will share this with my grandkids! Hugs.

Check out Simple Baseball Scoring HD it’s available now in the Android Marketplace. Simple Baseball Scoring HD is the simplest way to track a baseball (or softball) game. All game inputs are downloaded to scoringnation.com, where you can find individual and team statistics as well as downloadable scorecards. From Scoringnation.com you can also upload your team information to make scoring on your Android phone even easier. You do not need to know how to keep a scorebook to use Simple Baseball Scoring HD, although scorekeepers will love the scorecard output. During the game, an intuitive interview process helps you to record even the most complex plays. Full base runner control means that every stolen base, pick-off and passed ball is tracked. Simple Baseball Scoring HD was rigorously tested to provide optimal input of all situations that occur during the game including pitch by pitch balls and strikes, balks, runners advancing by wild pitch, catcher interference, assigned errors and so much more.

I knew they would make something to help me understand it all! Thanks!

Hard to believe the 1968 Bronx Bombers had a .214 team batting average. Puts Mickey’s .237 that year in an entirely different context.

if its the clashing colours or the bad grammar, but this blog is hideous! I mean, I dont want to sound like a know-it-all or anything, but could you have possibly put a little bit more effort into this subject

Where are the clashing colors? Point out the bad grammar. As an English teacher, I would love to know what I missed. He is one of the finest writers on the planet today. Let me know.

Just looking through the Yankee batting averages on the scorecard and it is noteworthy how low they are…looks like a team average of about .225

Keith,
It looks like you updated Mantles home run totals on your scorecard. I guess it was to reflect that (final) home run?
So cool to have been there for that. I went to the last game at the original Yankee Stadium (and I do mean “original”) with my then-girlfriend….& now long since ex-wife.. September 30, 1973. Duke Sims hit the last one. By the 7th inning the crowd was chanting “Houk must go!” I still have the ticket stubs, and the metal number plate from the seat as well. As we were leaving, I saw some guys trying to dig home plate up.

Duke Sims hit the last one. By the 7th inning the crowd was chanting “Houk must go!” I still have the ticket stubs, and the metal number plate from the seat as well. As we were leaving, I saw some guys trying to dig home plate up.

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