Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cardboard appreciation: 1965 Topps Derrell Griffith

(Today is Book Lovers Day. You'd think someone in my profession would consider this one of the most deserving appreciation days on the calendar. And I do. It's just that I rarely read books anymore. I wish I did, like I used to. I just can't find the time. So, here's to the idealized moment in the future when I have the leisure time to love books again. Meanwhile, this is Cardboard Appreciation. It is the 88th in a series):

I very nearly forgot the Cardboard Appreciation post for this week. I suppose I shouldn't have admitted that and instead told you that it's "A Very Special Weekend Edition of Cardboard Appreciation!"

So forget what I said in the first sentence. Let's go with that. It is the weekend after all.

Presenting a Very Special Weekend Edition of Cardboard Appreciation!

I was prompted to feature this card by something that happened at work a few weeks ago. We published a photo of a coach talking to his players during practice. All of the players were gathered around him, focused intently on his words. In the photo the coach has his mouth open, in mid-speak, appearing to be imparting some wisdom on his young charges.

This coach also happens to have a very foul mouth, as many coaches do. The photographer told us that as he was taking the picture, the coach was in the middle of cursing. And the particular curse word he was in the midst of saying was ... well, let's just say it's the "mother" of all four-syllable curse words, to drop a not-so-subtle hint. So, in the picture, it is very possible that the coach's mouth is actually uttering that word that you could never print in a family newspaper.

That caused me to recall something that I've always wondered. Are the candid smiles and laughs that you see on baseball cards often not so innocent? We might see a smiling ballplayer and think, "what a nice young man." But how often is that smile or laugh the response to an off-color joke, or a downright crude joke? Or how often is the player in the photo actually telling the joke?

Judging by everything I've read in Ball Four, I'd say the chances are pretty good.

I always thought that this photo of Derrell Griffith caught him delivering the punch line of a dirty joke. I'm not sure why. Something about the look on his face. It's as if he's in the midst of mid-snicker.

I don't know anything about Griffith other than what the stats say. Whenever I try to look up information on him, I come up with next to nothing, unless I spell his name "Darrell" Griffith, and then I get all kinds of references to the basketball player also known as "Dr. Dunkenstein."

Griffith, for all I know could have recited the rosary every day of his baseball career.

But that's not what the photo on his card says.

I blame Mr. Bouton.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe Griffith was just happy that ANY photographer wanted to take his picture, let alone the Topps baseball card photographer!

    Griffith's final card came LATE in the 1967 season, a full year after his last major-league game.