Monday, December 22, 2008

Working stiffs

I've already wasted enough time thumbing through the backs of 1974 Topps cards tonight, so I might as well go all the way.

The top cartoon is the back of the 1974 Topps John Ellis card, No. 128, which was the correct answer to this week's "Spot the Sig" bonus question over at Phungo. When I saw the cartoon that deal posted, I knew I had seen it somewhere before.

But in the process of going through a bunch of the cards, I recalled an earlier article I had read somewhere that mentioned how many players at the dawn of free agency held down regular jobs in the offseason. A shocking number in the '74 set featured cartoons revealing the player's attempt to make ends meet with a second job.

I'm going to show a bunch here, but I'll keep the comments short because this has already sucked up way more time than it should have.

Getting their hands dirty:

Larry Christenson, Phillies

Steve Busby, Royals


In it for the money:

Ray Fosse, A's

Jim Howarth, Giants

Ken Holtzman, A's


Wheeling and dealing:

Jim Mason, Rangers

Tim Johnson, Brewers

Danny Thompson, Twins


Pounding the pavement:

Lee Lacy, Dodgers

Skip Lockwood, Angels

Jim Fregosi, Rangers (somehow, even in 1974, I don't think Jim was going door-to-door selling brushes).

Ken Suarez, Rangers (that seems like a fairly dangerous job for a ball player).

In the retail biz (in the bleak days before there were blasters):

Jim Perry, Tigers

Ted Sizemore, Cardinals

Jerry Bell, Brewers

Freddie Patek, Royals

Tom Bradley, Giants and Doug Griffin, Red Sox. Can you imagine calling for tickets today and getting Tim Lincecum or Dustin Pedroia on the phone?

And a few others:

Dave Lopes, Dodgers

Larry Bowa, Phillies. Well, he's cranky enough to be a sportswriter.

Rico Petrocelli, Red Sox. I don't know if this job was well-publicized, but if it was, I'm sure he was very popular during the energy crisis of the early '70s.

Three I don't believe:

Lou Brock, Cardinals. It'd be cool to go into a flower shop and have Lou Brock sell you some carnations.

Gaylord Perry, Indians. So both Gaylord and his brother Jim were in the majors at the time and they both held down second jobs. Wow.

Nolan Ryan, Angels. I guess, he was one game under .500 for his career at the time. Can't live off those back-to-back 300-strikeout seasons.

While pulling these cards I came across a few cartoons that probably only interest me. But I'm showing them anyway:

George Theodore, Mets. I absolutely love this cartoon. It's fun and specific. What's not to love? If I was a ballplayer and Mr. Topps Man came around with that cartoon questionnaire, I'd like to think I'd put something quirky like that as an answer. That's what I'd want my cartoon to say.

Mike Tyson, Cardinals. His name is Mike Tyson AND his nickname is "Rocky"? You picked the wrong profession, buddy.

Hal Lanier, Yankees. What more needs to be said? Good for you, Hal.

5 comments:

  1. Trust me, these weren't entertaining to just you alone!

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  2. Those were cool. I read the other day that Kyle Davies is working for his Dad's construction company this off-season to stay in shape.

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  3. Imagine that... a time when a large number of Major Leaguers worked other jobs during the off-season. I'm impressed at the variety. :)

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  4. Loved the montage. The Mike Tyson is absolutely priceless - I think have that card, and I don't think I have ever bothered to process the cartoon.

    And the Ray Fosse card - is that saying that he could be "persuaded" to sell a run??

    of course now how the heck am I going to use any of these toons in Spot the Sig?

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  5. Lou Brock really did own a flower shop in the St. Louis area. That was also about the time he invented the "Brock-a-bella", which was a hat you wore with an umbrella on top. (http://www.yardbarker.com/photos/9971/large)

    I remember the professions, such as George Medich as a doctor. My favorite was always Richie Hebner as a grave digger. I forget which year, but one of his Topps cards (maybe 1973) had him with a smile and a shovel.

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