Thursday, October 25, 2012
'56 of the month: Bill Bruton
Not a lot of time today. How about if I resurrect the '56 of the Month series? It's been a couple of months since I've done one of these. But I'm not changing the title to '56 of the Every-Third Month.
Bill Bruton isn't here because he was a terrific forgotten hitter of the '50s, a standout contact man and base stealer for the powerful Braves teams of that era.
He's here because he's the first player that I think of when the topic of "players who share the same name with people you know" comes up.
I riffed on this topic once before, focusing entirely on players who share the same name as other famous people. I'm not going to go through the same rundown here because a) it takes way too much time that I don't have, and b) you don't give a fig about the nobodies that you don't know.
So I'll just stick to Bill Bruton here.
The Bill Bruton that I knew was a co-worker of my wife's back before my wife and I were married. I wish I had a lot of exciting things to say about him -- how he dove off of cliffs while punching tigers during his spare time. But I don't.
He lived in a small town, was a pretty unassuming guy, and liked sports. That's about it. He was kind of boring, I guess. And now that I think of it, I'm kind of boring.
I don't know if the Bill Bruton I know knew about the Bill Bruton who played for the Braves. I never got to bring it up to him.
Besides, what was he going to say?
Me: "Hey, you know that Braves player back in the '50s, Bill Bruton? You guys have the same name!"
Me: But he's black. And you're white.
OK, on to the card back:
The cartoons illustrate exactly how speedy Bruton was. When I nabbed this card in the Great Rationing Off of 1956 Topps From My Dad's Co-Worker, I picked this card because Bruton looked like a slugger. And I equated him with being a slugger for a long time.
But, obviously, he was a lead-off guy.
Outside of a few bloggers here and here, I can't think of anyone I currently know who shares his name with a major league player.
I think today, if I did come across someone whose name is the same as a past or present ballplayer, I WOULD bring it up this time.
They NEED to know this stuff.
Even if all I get is a "Yeah."