The (Almost) Last Pilot Draftee To Make It…

Maybe that’s why he looks a bit crazed in this shot. He survived the insanity of the early Brewers / Pilots. While Pilots draftees like Gorman Thomas and Jim Slaton were in the majors for a long time, Hansen was the last one of the 1969 draftees to debut in the bigs for the Brewers. It turns out that Hansen, drafted 21st, made it before the 5th round choice Gary Martz. Martz went 0-1 for the 1975 Royals.

I was just filing my recent 1975 card purchases from my tertiary LCS (I just bought $100 of 1972 cards from my secondary LCS and my primary LCS has my A&G box ordered for the big hoo-hah coming up). This card caught my attention so I had to dig.

Hansen was yet another Brewers player that hit home runs with a low batting average. But he didn’t whiff a tremendous amount and did walk a bit. He could remind one of Gorman Thomas without the defense and facial hair.

Hansen, in fact, was ahead of Stormin’ Gorman for a bit. Bob played in AAA from 1970 onward, while Thomas made AAA in 1973. But Gorman made the big leagues out of Spring Training in 1973 before being sent down to Evansville. Hansen was second on the 1973 Triplets with 13 home runs, while Thomas hit eight in 46 games.

In 1974, the Brewers moved their AAA team to Sacramento. That was a big deal.

The 1973 Triplets hit 100 home runs. The 1974 Solons hit 305! Of course, LF was just 268 feet from home plate thanks to shoehorning the team into a football stadium. Bill McNulty, who went 1-27 in the majors, hit 55 home runs that season. Thomas hit 51. Hansen hit five, but played just 18 games before being called up to the bigs for the rest of 1974.

I can’t tell why, though. Hansen was purely a first baseman. The Brewers had George Scott and Mike Hegan to man first. While Deron Johnson was a bust at DH, Bobby Mitchell had a decent year and he filled in most of the time. The OF besides John Briggs struggled but Hansen couldn’t help there.

But the card back says how Hansen was utilized.

He was the pinch hitting specialist for the Brewers. In this day-and-age, AL teams really have pinch hitting specialists, since they have just four bench players on a daily basis. But in 1974, the Brewers had basically nine pitchers on the staff.

As a pinch hitter, he hit .400 with a 1.025 OPS!

He hit .324 with a .832 OPS in late and close situations.

As a sub he had a .969 OPS; as a starter just a .524 OPS – and that was with a 3 for 3 performance in game two of a May 19 doubleheader.

So I looked up to see if his pinch hits were clutch.

Well:

With his late and close stats, it is a possibility that he was the elusive clutch player in 1974. He scored six runs and had seven RBI as a pinch hitter.

But were they ‘clutch’? Is getting an RBI in the 8th that made a 5-2 deficit 5-3 clutch if the score remains 5-3? Mind you, the Brewers weren’t so good, but still there were a lot of pinch hits in somewhat meaningless circumstances.

There was the pinch hit leading off the ninth on July 21 that started a 5-run rally that Milwaukee used to beat the White Sox 5-3. Of course, that hit was only important because Bahnsen and Forster imploded, with the latter giving up a grand slam to Tim Johnson (of all people).

Hansen singled in the winning run on September 17th against the Indians in the 8th as a pinch hitter.

On Sept. 23, he hit a pinch homer in the 8th that tied the game against the Indians.

But is a a triple before the triple before the game tying sac fly clutch?

Is a single in the late innings with the bases empty down by two really clutch?

It could be argued that any hit that extends the chain of offense clutch, but not in the Derek Jeter way. It could also be argued that any hit that isn’t with the “game on the line” a non-clutch hit.

Basically, Topps tried to sell Hansen as a clutch hitter.

The Brewers, though, thought so much of Hansen that he spent all of 1975 in Sacramento, while Stormin’ Gorman played 1975 up in the bigs.

So much for clutch.

OUT!

It’s hard to see on the scan (you probably can just see the “t” across Cookie’s face) but if you hold it to the light you can see that some young in’ scrawled “out” on the card in red pen. Needless to say if you want to look at a clean photo of this here card, meander over here to Night Owl’s groovy place.

At first, I thought it said cut, and I felt sorry for Cookie. Cookie was a long-time and respected player that the modern statistical analysis is not kind to, but in the day he was regarded as a valuable and versatile. He played at least one inning at every position (including pitcher) and started at six of them. Still, over 83% of his games played in the field and almost 86% of his innings played in the field were at second. He was respected enough to get MVP votes for hitting .276 in 1973 with little power and walks, and was an all-star reserve in 1974.

He certainly deserved better than having “cut” scrawled across his face. Yes, he was cut. Almost all players are cut. Cookie himself was cut after the 1977 season having mentored Frank White for several years. I’ve seen enough altered cards following players around the league, or scrawling their replacements on them, that it wouldn’t have surprised me at all that some kid in Independence, Missouri wrote “cut” on Cookie’s face when he was released.

But I then realized it was “out” not “cut” and then it hit me. Whoever had this card was making their own baseball game using baseball cards. I’m sure that stars like Bench, Morgan, Palmer, Seaver and Jackson had the best results, and guys like Cookie Rojas were used for the various ‘outs’, which is fine. It’s better than being cut.

Even Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench made outs, so Cookie wasn’t alone.

This card will be available in the ‘grab bag’ of extras and odds-and-ends since I have another double of this card without the scrawl. So be prepared!

 

Balor Moore – 1975 Topps

December 16, 2010

I’ve Seen This Movie Before…

The first card I saw on the first pack I ripped of the 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects was the green Strasburg. It seemed like only yesterday that grown men were foaming at the mouth over the chance to get one of the first #661 cards.

I sat back and wondered, haven’t I seen this before? Well, maybe not the mega-hype, but the young flame thrower flaming out before his time.

(Note: Strasburg could come back better than ever – or not…)

Baseball history is littered with players that had a short burst of success at a young age, and then a fast crash due to injury or dereliction or worse. It’s a trend that started back in 1876, when Joe Borden signed a rich (for the time) three-year contract after he hurled a no-hitter for Philadelphia in 1875 as a rookie. There was hype and hope that Borden could carry the Bostonians to the first NL title, and he started the season in style, winning over the same Philadelphia club he left in the first NL game.

In 1877, Borden was the groundskeeper for the team, and then they bought his contract out. The first example of sunk costs in professional baseball!

In the early 1970′s, north of the border, there was a lot of hype and hope for Balor Moore. The Expos drafted Moore in the first round of the June 1969 draft from Deer Park, Texas. He was a lefty that threw gas and had a great curve. A perfect storm of pitching prospectitude, as it were.

He definitely showed he was more than ready for professional baseball. In 88 innings in the Gulf Coast and Florida State Leagues, Moore was 9-1, giving up 10 runs total, and only four earned. That’s an 0.41 ERA.

The next year, he again started in the FSL and dominated in three starts. The Expos had some issues on their major league staff and reached down for Moore to replace guys like Joe Sparma, Carroll Sembera and Gary Waslewski, who had already proved they weren’t worthy of wearing the tri-colors.

He didn’t do that well, starting two games and giving up 14 hits and 8 walks in 9 2/3 innings. Still, he got his feet wet. He was dispatched to AAA Buffalo, who moved during the season to Winnipeg. He scuffled a little bit in AAA, but a 19-year old lefty was expected to scuffle a bit in AAA.

The next year was kind of lost for Moore. He struggled in Winnipeg (2-11, 6.33) and then Uncle Sam wanted him. He spent some time in the Army but was released in time for the 1972 Spring Training. Well, what was Spring Training thanks to the strike of ’72.

Moore started the year in the minors again, but he had cleared his mind and let his talent take over. He dominated the Eastern League and made his 1972 big league debut on June 26. He was still struggling a bit, but after falling to 2-5 with a 5.01 ERA in late July, he was dominant the rest of the season.

Playing for the woebegone Expos, he went 7-4 with a tidy 2.76 ERA and 110 whiffs in 101 innings and gave up just 75 hits. He pitched back to back shutouts in September, and his best performance was against the soon-to-be NL champion Reds on August 23. Ron Woods drove in six runs to help Moore to an 11-0 win, and Moore held the Big Red Machine to just four hits and a walk. He whiffed Tony Perez twice and George Foster three times that day.

He had a bit of a setback in 1973, as his control and command escaped him from time to time. What happened was that the big league staff asked him to supplement his fastball and curve with a slider. That messed him up for a bit, and is a valuable lesson. If it’s not broken – don’t fix it.

He had an untidy 7-16 record with a 4.49 ERA, and had a brief demotion to AAA. He still didn’t allow many hits at all, just didn’t have the command he once had.

Mark Fidrych, another flame-out, famously hurt his knee in Spring Training which led to his arm woes as it affected his motion.

Same thing here for the most part. Moore hurt his ankle in 1974, which threw off his mechanics, which made him even wilder. He pitched 13 2/3 innings in the bigs in early 1974, walking 15 and whiffing 16. But he also came down with arm trouble. The Expos sent him down and he struggled even more in AAA, and then his elbow went ka-powie.

He had surgery, struggled in AAA again, and was sold to the Angels. The Angels sent him to Salinas, and then he spent all of 1976 in El Paso. A former phenom threw 141 innings in AA, racking up a 5.55 ERA and walking more than he struck out.

Still, the Angels saw glimmers, and after another detour to Salinas, he got back to AAA in 1977 pitching well in relief (albiet with the same control problems). He got back to the bigs for the first time since 1974 appearing in seven September games. A 3.97 ERA is deceiving, as he gave up nine unearned runs and seven home runs.

Finally, in 1978, he spent the entire season in the big leagues. Toronto purchased his contract and he spent 1978 and 1979 with the Jays as a swingman. He still had some control problems but at least he could be counted on to stay in the bigs and not get his head totally caved in. In 1980, his control issues became chronic, and a trip to the minors didn’t solve it. He was released after the minor league season was over, scuffled his way onto a couple of AAA rosters in 1981, and that was it.

Now Moore didn’t have nearly the hype Strasburg had. There was no mechanism for Moore’s hype to generate huge buzz in 1969. The baseball draft was a strictly agate-type thing, and the Expos weren’t much of a consideration for the meager national baseball broadcast schedules. In CANADA, though, there was some hype, but it was muted and polite since it wasn’t hockey or lacrosse or curling.

And he didn’t have some loutish buffoon of an announcer call him a weenie for having an elbow twinge.  Moore probably did his best to pitch through any twinges, and it cost him dearly. But if Moore didn’t pitch, he wouldn’t have kept his job either. He was caught. At least the Nationals know that Strasburg is an investment. The Expos didn’t have that much invested in Moore – there was someone else in the pipeline. Heck, Moore probably got more chances because he was a first round pick with a great season under his belt, but he was just another young lefty back then.

Frankly, TINSTAAPP is true. There is NO such thing as a pitching prospect. Prospects can be derailed in one pitch. There are only hopes and crossed fingers.

 

 

The Airbrusher Got Me High…

Whoa, dude. Can you get baked huffin’ the fumes of the airbrush?

This guy, this Roger Nelson, looks happy for someone whose nickname was “Spider” and who spent more time on the DL in Cincinnati than on the mound. He also had a lot of DL time in Kansas City as well – missing almost all of 1970 and splitting 1971 between the DL, Omaha and KC.

Roger was involved in some big, big trades in his career. As a youngster, right after his cup of coffee with the White Sox in 1967, he was packaged with Don Buford and sent to Baltimore in exchange for Luis Aparicio. Thanks to Buford’s seasons of excellence as an on-base machine during the O’s big WS runs, advantage Orioles.

Nelson spent some time in Rochester in 1968, but he mostly just waited in the Baltimore bullpen for opportunities. Those Orioles staffs liked to finish what they started. KC selected him as the #1 pick of the 1969 expansion draft. He had a pretty good 1969 and an excellent 1972, bookending his DL trips.

Then after 1972, the Reds decided to flush out some of the logjam developing in the outfield, and packaged Hal McRae and sore-armed Wayne Simpson to KC for Nelson and journeyman Richie Scheinblum. The Reds needed to improve their pitching in order to become the dominant force in the NL West, but Nelson’s injuries left them short and they were forced to fleece…trade with San Diego for some depth there with Fred Norman and Clay Kirby.

The Reds’ impatience led them to dangle Nelson out there for anyone to grab, and the White Sox grabbed him for some cash money dollar bills, y’all. The Sox were always in need to depth because Wood, Kaat and Bahnsen couldn’t pitch all 1,458 innings, could they?

Unlike Skip Pitlock Nelson didn’t even make the team out of Spring Training. By the time the Kids of America (who-hoh) unwrapped this goofy visage with the heinous airbrushed hat, glasses, and sideburns right from Canned Heat, he was laboring in Tuscon for the A’s farm teams (where he was teammates with the aforementioned Mr. Pitlock). He then returned to the KC organization, was called up at the end of 1976 (jumping on the pile if nothing else), then spent 1977 and 1978 in AAA. He made one appearance in 1979 for the Pirates AAA team and then hung ‘em up.

Why did Topps think they needed to airbrush cards when the results looked like this? Does anyone have an answer? Were the Kids of America that gullible, from New York to East California?

La-da-da-da-da La-da-da-da-da HEY!

 

Dave Tomlin – 1975 Topps

December 9, 2010

“Got Nothin’ Better To Do, Might As Well Keep Playin’”

Don’t know if that was an actual quote or not, but it was apt for Tomlin.

And now, Tomlin’s keeping in the game, as he’s been the manager of the GCL Red Sox for the past few seasons.

Now this card was taken right as Tomlin was trying to establish a foothold for himself in the bigs. As you can see from the wonderful airbrushing job (featuring a yellow / gold cap in a color not previously known to Pantone or Crayola), Dave was on the move in 1974.

He started his career in the Reds organization as a 29th round draft pick in 1967. Now, the draft was a toddler back then but a 29th round was still seen as roster-filler more than legit prospect. But if you’re lefthanded and pitch well you can move up, and by 1971 Tomlin was in Indianapolis in AA.

He was there in 1972, and 1973. It just so happened that the Reds were loaded, though he did have a cup of coffee in 1972 and was up for a longer stint in ’73. He did pitch in the 1973 NLCS against the Mets, but not well – when he came on the scene in the third Sparky had already used Ross Grimsley and Tom Hall. Tomlin gave up five hits and three runs in 1 2/3 as the Mets stunned the Reds 9-2.

The Reds had a good problem to have – too many prospects. They also had Bobby Tolan, who had been injured quite a bit in his career and was coming off of an awful season (.555 OPS and an OPS+ of 57, and that was his age 27 year) but still had ‘potential’. But he was in the way of Griffey and Foster, and the Reds needed some starting pitching depth.

So they reached out to everyone’s favorite NL West punching bag, the San Diego Padres. They had fleeced the Padres into giving up a valuable Fred Norman for two fringe players and cash. Now, they came calling again, dangling a ‘proven veteran’ hitter, Tolan for one of their starting pitchers. Yes, we know he went 8-18 with a high 4 ERA, but we’ll take Clay Kirby off of your hands, please.

Tomlin was thrown in to sweeten the deal as well.

You’d think that the Padres, with all of their problems, would clamor for a pitcher of Tomlin’s history. He’s a living, breathing lefthanded pitcher.

Nah, they tried Rich Troedson first before summoning Tomlin from Hawaii. Then they sent him down after some struggles for Rusty Gerhardt. Tomlin did get called up and finished the year in San Diego.

For the next three seasons, Tomlin was a solid contributor for the Padres. But he always seemed like the lefty afterthought. In 1976, he was 0-1 with 1 blown save in 49 appearances. No holds. His one loss was the one game he started. He was thrown in there in case of emergency, which happened often enough whenever Randy Jones didn’t pitch.

After a good 1977 season, Tomlin was sent back to the Reds in a roundabout way. He was moved to Texas for Gaylord Perry, and Texas then sold him to Cincinnati. So basically the Reds financed the deal to get Perry out of Arlington. Odd.

1978 was the beginning of the end, though (or so it seemed). One look and you go, hey, he was pretty good, he was 9-1. Well, um, his ERA was 5.78 and his WAR was -2.7. The Reds only finished 2 1/2 back (after a furious rally at the end), so you draw some conclusions there. He was, in the parlance of the game, a lucky duck when it came to W-L. He only vultured one of his wins, though and only pitched poorly in another win – his last one of the season.

He rebounded a bit in 1979, but his 2.62 ERA was clouded by 12 unearned runs. In mid-1980, he was struggling again and the Reds cut him.

Yes, he’s a lefty, but a 31-year old journeyman lefty should think about his options, right?

Well, it seems Dave’s only option was baseball. After tasting big league life for 6 seasons, he spent from 1981 through 1987 in exotic locales like Syracuse, Indianapolis and Wichita, with a return trip to  Hawaii for two seasons thrown in there. He appeared in 261 minor league games in those seven seasons, and made it back to the bigs for 14 total games with Pittsburgh and Montreal.

Now he wasn’t a star, but certainly spending six more years in the minors wasn’t worth it for those 14 extra games? Well, I guess it was!

At the end of 1987, and another year in Indianapolis helping the Expos youngsters prep for the bigs, he was finally done. He seamlessly moved into a role as a minor league pitching instructor before landing the GCL managerial job.

My only remaining question is this.

Tomlin was traded in late 1973. He went to Spring Training with the Padres in 1974 and spent 4 months up there in San Diego. WHY THE HELL DIDN’T TOPPS GET A SHOT OF HIM IN A PADRES UNIFORM??

 

Skip Pitlock – 1975 Topps

December 7, 2010

I Thought You Needed To Register Your Skip Pitlocks?

“Is Holly there? It’s Skip…Skip Pitlcok.”

“What? Not home?”

“She’s never home…are you trying to keep her away from me?”

Face it, would you let your daughter date a Skip Pitlock?

Though Lee Patrick Thomas Pitlock is a mouthful, perhaps Skip was a better choice of moniker.

For an 11th round draft pick, Pitlock breezed through the San Francisco system at first. After starring at Southern Illinois, Skip went 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA at Great Falls and Fresno (then in the California League) and started 1970 all the way up at AAA Phoenix. A 10-3, 2.46 mark with eight complete games convinced the Giants he was ready for prime time.

Frankly, he was about the only option left to back up Perry and Marichal. Rich Robertson, Frank Reberger, Mike McCormick, Miguel Puente and Ron Bryant were all found wanting. So on June 12, 1970, Pitlock faced the Cardinals.

It was a memorable entrance to major league baseball – and it proved that the majors were a wee bit tougher on pitchers than Ole Miss in the CWS.

Brock doubles, Cardinal doubles him in. He’s wild pitched to third and scores on a Carl Taylor sac fly. It’s 2-0 before the 8,634 at Candlestick had a chance to freeze. Later, Bob Gibson swats a bomb off of poor ol’ Skip and the Cards prevail 4-1.

After that start he doesn’t do half bad. While he is 5-5 with a 4.66 ERA, that’s better than those aforementioned hurlers. You’d have to think that he’d be in the mix for a rotation spot in 1971.

The Giants contend for and win the NL West in 1971. Bryant, Don Carrithers, Steve Stone and John Cumberland help to settle the rotation down. Pitlock is left at Phoenix all year, and with good reason. He’s not good. A 7-11, 6.40 mark puts him behind Jim Barr, Randy Moffitt and Jim Willoughby as well as the four already in San Francisco. But Skip’s still young. He has time.

Well, San Francisco kept him down on the farm – at arms length away, just like the mother not wanting her precious snowflake to date a Skip Pitlock. He’s 8-10 with a 3.31 ERA but still doesn’t get a call up. Even though the Giants go from 90 wins to 69 – even though the only team they beat in the NL West in 1972 is the Padres, Skip sits at AAA.  Carrithers regresses, Jerry Johnson is more arsonist than fireman, Marichal goes an unlucky 6-16, and Cumberland implodes. But Skip is down at Phoenix with Moffitt, Willoughby and Gary Lavelle playing for retirees and tourists.

I don’t know why the Giants became disenchanted with Pitlock. Did he whizz in Charlie Fox’ Wheaties? Did he hide Willie McCovey’s truss? At any rate, he was only 25, he was a lefty and he had some ML experience, and the Giants were eager to get anything for him. They traded him in early 1973 to the White Sox for a has-been and a never-was.

He must have been excited to play for a team near his hometown of Elmhurst, IL. Perhaps the nuns at Immaculate Conception High would organize field trips to Comiskey.

Instead, he had a summer in Iowa. Have you been in Iowa in the summer? It’s hot, humid and there’s corn. Lots and lots of corn. For some variety there are severe thunderstorms and tornadoes thrown in there, and maybe a pig farm or two.

“I’m young, lefthanded and just spent my fourth year in AAA,” thought Pitlock (well, maybe). “Do I have a future in this game? Is it my name? Is it my moustache?”

Well, finally. Chuck Tanner picks Pitlock for a bullpen role in 1974. He makes 40 appearances (five of them spot starts), and again doesn’t totally embarrass himself, going 3-3 with a save and a 4.43 ERA. Eight times during the season, he came in to the game in the third (or earlier). On August 13, Bart Johnson got clobbered, and Skip came in the second inning and held the Orioles to just one more run the rest of the game. In an era, especially in Chicago, where a long reliever was a much needed commodity, Pitlock seemed to secure his future. He even had a baseball card!

Well…

I can’t say what happened, nor the circumstances, but it didn’t end well.

Pitlock made the club to begin 1975. I think the White Sox settled on Pitlock, Jim Otten, Terry Forster, Jack Kucek, Rich Gossage, and Cecil Upshaw in the pen backing up Wood, Kaat, Bahnsen and Osteen as they broke camp and went to Oakland.

Game three of the season, April 10, 1975. Stan Bahnsen, way overused by Chuck Tanner the past few years, starts and runs into trouble in the bottom of the third. Reggie! Jackson hits a three run bomb and then Joe Rudi doubles. Tanner’s seen enough, already. In comes Pitlock to face Billy Williams.

Williams cracks a single. Rudi scores. Tanner comes out and takes Skip out of the game. In comes Goose Gossage.

Over the next few days, Bill Gogolewski and Dan Osborn join the pen. Pitlock, Otten and Kucek disappear back to the minors. Otten and Kucek make it back to the bigs at some point, but Billy Williams was the last batter Skip faced in the bigs.

Well, he’s still a commodity, somewhat, at least he is to Charlie O. Finley. On June 15, Finley needed to shore up his staff and trades for Bahnsen and Pitlock. He gives away lefty Dave Hamilton and a young center fielder – something Oakland doesn’t really need with Reggie!, Rudi, Claudell Washington and Billy North around.

Chet Lemon was his name. They can’t all be good trades.

Even though there usually was a merry-go-round in Oakland, Pitlock never gets the call back to the bigs. He pitched OK in Tucson in 1975, but was released from there in 1976 and finished up in Salt Lake City for the Angels AAA team. And when a team in dire need of pitching like the Angels doesn’t call you up, and your ERA is 6.75, you may want to put that Southern Illinois education to use.

Which is what he did. Even though 1977 was an expansion year, and the has-been the Giants got for him in 1973 pitched in the big leagues for the first time since 1970 (Chuck Hartenstein), Skip didn’t appear in any major or minor league games.

I wonder, though, if the name had something to do with it. How many assistant GM’s had to stifle a laugh when their secretary said, “Someone is here to talk to you about a job -Skip Pitlock is coming.”

“THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!”

(Ok, that’s lame…but…I didn’t know how to end this saga…)

 

 

 

 

There’s A Font Problem Here, People.

Look at the lettering on the back of Mr. Cosgrove’s uniform.

Now look at this:

(Sorry for the crooked scan, but lefties are always a bit cockeyed, aren’t they.)

This has to be at Houston’s spring training complex. Actually, it looks like they rented out a high school field in June to take these shots, but no matter. They’re in the same place – same team – same POSE even.

But look at the name on Cosgrove’s back, and look at the name on Scherman’s back.

Different fonts.

It had to be taken in Spring of 1973. According to this post on Uni Watch (which you should read because if you’re geeky enough to collect baseball cards, you obviously care about uniforms and sartorial eloquence, amirite?) the Astros had NOB in 1973 (and 1972). Cosgrove was in the Astros chain and got promoted to the bigs in late 1972 but may not have been in major league spring training in 1972, as he spent 1971 in the FSL and made it to the bigs after good work in AA and AAA in 1972.

He made the club out of the spring in 1973 and was sent down in May to get more work in at AAA, but made it back up to the bigs later that year. In 1974, he was a prime candidate for the majors (though he did start the year in AAA).

Scherman wasn’t an Astro until 1973. He spent his big league career (starting in 1969) in Detroit. Billy Martin probably over-used him a bit in 1971 when he was their ace reliever and his stats began to slip. After the 1973 season he was sent (along with cash) to Houston for Jim Ray, a reliever also on the downside of his career, and Gary Sutherland, who would become the Tigers everyday second baseman in 1974 after spending two years playing in AAA for the Astros organization.

There was no reason not to expect Scherman to make the big club.

They both look like the Astros major league uniforms. So why the different fonts on the back?

Was it because they knew that they would have NNOB in 1974, and just slapped some letters on Scherman’s uniform in the spring because everyone else had them? Or did they just run out of the good letters, or what?

This is a mystery, and I won’t quit thinking about it until it’s solved…

…or something else occupies my brain.

 

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