We used to ride our bicycles the mile or so from our neighborhood to the five and dime in Saratoga Village, to pay 10 cents for Topps 1972 baseball cards — ten cards and a stick of not very tasty bubble gum. Forty two complete seasons of baseball have come and gone, yet I hold on to some of those cards.
In 1982, between high school graduation and heading east for college, Eric Cohen helped me sort my “doubles”, which I then traded to Larry Vasovic of The Dugout at The Old Mill for a complete set of Topps 1964, from the year I was born.
The bulk of my collection is stored away somewheres, but I do flip thru that binder of ’64s every once in a while, sorted by team.
Here I’ve ripped what some of these young fellers looked like.
Ryne Duren only comes up here because I referenced him briefly in an article a few weeks back about 1961 and Jack Hirschman, the radical poet, mentioning Hal Newhouser in a poem; Duren wore thick glasses and was a three-time all-star but was known to be wild and would throw some of his warm-up pitches against the backstop to freak out his opposition. I never saw this, mind you, but picked it up somewheres. And have this card:
Frank Funk of the Milwaukee Braves probably does not belong in this pantheon of my favorites but it caught my eye in two ways today: one, because for whatever reason I woke up this morning in a bit of a frank funk which thinking about baseball and drinking Peet’s coffee may have remedied; and two, because it reminds me of my recent post about Tweed Funk, the Milwaukee-based blues band: there is no connection between an obscure baseballer from 50 years ago and music, except in Plastic Alto (although there is a funk band called Vida Blue, named for a major league pitcher, AND, I (who else) once asked the former Red Sox outfielder Pumpsie Green if he would mind lending his name to a potential blues-soul band I was plotting).
Lastly, Terry and I met former big league catcher Ken Retzer at the St. Louis Hilton, in 2010, across from the ball park. We were there (Terry and I but not Mr. Retzer) for the wedding of my cousin (and former Vanderbilt cheerleader) Jenny Moats. Mazel tov, brush after meals, and PLAY BALL!