Flakes, Freaks & Geeks Page!
And now for something a bit different... Welcome to our FREAKS & GEEKS PAGE! On this page we will feature players or owners who exhibited freakish (like Steve Lyons of "take your pants
off during a game" fame) or some sort of weird behavior (there is plenty in that category). Or it just may be a terrible picture on a bubble gum card. Who cares! You are somewhat of a FREAK
if you are even reading this right now! FREAK! Ha ha! Enjoy!
Bill "The Spaceman" Lee
1971 O-Pee-Chee #58 Bill Lee 1981 Topps #633 Bill Lee
Who would have thought by looking at this 1971 O-Pee-Chee #58 Bill Lee bubble gum card (above left) that he was to go on to be one of the ALL-TIME GREATEST FREAKS in sports
history? Nicknamed "The Spaceman" for his "far out" behavior both on and off the field, Bill Lee is such a character that he is now a best-selling author. No kidding. This guy who sprinkled
hashish on his pancakes, nicknamed Bosox Manager Don Zimmer "The Designated Gerbil" and called the Yankees unflattering names ("You take a team with twenty-five assholes and I'll
show you a pennant. I'll show you the New York Yankees.") has wrote some terrific books after his playing career was over (actually I think he is still playing in some league somewhere;
maybe on the moon!). Bill Lee has some great quotes attributed to him including this gem: "You have two hemispheres in your brain - a left and a right side. The left side controls the right
side of your body and right controls the left half. It's a fact. Therefore, left-handers are the only people in their right minds." Source: Sports Illustrated (April 7, 1980). You gotta love
Bill Lee had a pretty good career, playing 14 years for the Red Sox and Expos. He won 17 games three times for Boston and won 16 games one season with Montreal. The 1981 Topps
#633 Bill Lee baseball card (above right) is one of his last as an active player. His last Topps card would be 1982 Topps #323. After his Major League career was over, Lee continued to
pitch in the short-lived "Senior League" and also for a few regional teams. Like I said, he might STILL be pitching! This is a guy who loves the game!
1964 Topps #344 Phil Linz
Phil Linz and the "Harmonica Incident"
On August 20, 1964, the Yankees had just come off a 5-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox, their 4th straight loss in a pennant race. The were in the team bus leaving the Stadium when
Phil Linz began playing "Mary Had A Little Lamb" on his harmonica. Yankees Manager Yogi Berra was not amused and was obviously upset by the most recent loss. In Berra's opinion it
was not a time to be "celebrating." So he told Linz to stop playing. Supposedly Linz did not hear this or was too busy belting out the tune, or Mickey Mantle told Linz that Berra said to
"play it louder." So he have the harmonica a couple more toots. Whatever the case, Berra got furious and went to the back of the bus where Linz was. Linz tossed the harmonica to
Berra, who angrily slapped at it. It hit Yankee first baseman Joe Pepitone who was slightly "injured" (he required a band-aid on his knee supposedly). Whatever, it makes for a great
story. The Yankees did end up winning the pennant in 1964 and went on to lose the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Did Linz have a hand in the turn around? Doubtful, but who
knows. Linz was traded the following season and was out of baseball by 1969. He was a lifetime .235 hitter but he could play a mean mouth harp!
|1968 Topps #562 Jim Bouton
|Had Jim Bouton started his baseball career in the this decade, he would be have been making millions of dollars. He was that good. In his first full big league season (1963) he won 21 games,
lost only 7, had a 2.53 ERA with 12 Complete Games and 6 Shut Outs. The following year he won 18 games and it was no coincidence that the Yankees won the pennant in both those years. In
two World Series, Bouton won 2 games (1 defeat; losing a 1 run game to a Don Drysdale shutout) with a 1.48 ERA. The Bouton's arm burned out the following season and back then they did
not do the "Tommy John" surgeries that have revived numerous careers. Bouton had to come up with something different. A knuckle ball. He ended up pitching for the expansion Seattle Pilots
in 1969, Astros in 1970, and had a comeback attempt in 1978 with the Braves. But that is not why Jim Bouton is famous. Jim Bouton is famous for his book "BALL FOUR" which at the time
stirred up quite a controversy. Back then the media would not try to get too much into a player's off-field activities. They had a little more respect for Mickey Mantle's privacy than to print
that little Johnny's all time hero was terribly hung over from a night of debauchery. Or that ball players popped pills. Or how player contracts were negotiated. This was all "taboo" back then.
Well Jim Bouton would scribble little things here and there and all those little stories and such added up to one sensational book. At the time ball players hated it and resented Bouton for
writing it. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn asked that Bouton recant the book entirely. Jim Bouton was quite a personality though. He is a man of honesty, and a product of the 1960's when
a lot of young people were questioning the "establishment." So he told it like it is. And the fans loved him for it. At least I did. I thought "Ball Four" was the funniest book I had ever read.
Well "Ball Four" was so successful that Bouton wrote several other books plus did other endevors such as invent "BIG LEAGUE CHEW" (shredded bubble gum as a substitute for chewing
tobacco) and he also had a minor acting career (I believe he had a small television show at one time). He now has his own website where you can obtain a personalized autographed copy of "Ball
Four." You can go to Bouton's website by clicking HERE. It is my personal opinion that the world would be much better place to live with insightful people like Jim Bouton and Bill Lee running
the show! PLAY BALL!
This page currently under construction. More FLAKES, FREAKS and GEEKS coming soon!
|1976 Topps #564 Bazooka Bubble Gum Champ
Kurt Bevacqua was involved in some terrific baseball moments. One was his World Series heroics in 1984 as a member of the San Diego Padres. He batted .444 with 7 hits including 2
doubles, 2 Home Runs and 4 Runs Batted In. Then there was the unflattering comments that Tommy Lasorda attributed to him ("he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat"). And then
you have this special "1975 Joe Garagiola/ Bazooka Bubble Gum Blowing Champ" card (above) featuring winner Kurt Bevacqua when he was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. This
was a very interesting card produced by Topps in it's regular card set. I don't think there has been anything quite like it, before, or since. Great card!
1975 Topps #622 Tim Pulcifer Rookie card (Rare!)
December 3, 1968 Sports Illustrated "The Swinger" 1969 Topps Super #4 Ken Harrelson
Another product of the 1960's generation is Ken the "Hawk" Harrelson. Harrelson was big on fashion in his day, wearing the latest hip gear (see above Sports Illustrated cover from 1968). He was also
perhaps the first player to have his nickname embroidered on the back of his jersey. Like Jim Bouton, Ken Harrelson was hip to the changing times around him. I will post a picture of Harrelson in fashion
mode in a bit. Harrelson had a short but productive career; he would have averaged 24 HRs and 76 RBIs per season (162 game schedule) but played only 9 years. His best year was in 1968. The Red
Sox had lost Tony Conigliaro to a career threatening injury in 1967 and Tony C was out the entire 1968 season. Boston signed Ken Harrelson as a free agent and Harrelson responded with 35 home
runs and a league leading 109 RBIs in 1968. Harrelson was also an All Star that year and finished 3rd in the AL MVP balloting. Tony C made a terrific comeback in 1969 so the Red Sox traded
Harrelson in late April to the Cleveland Indians. There Harrelson slugged 27 HRs, so he finished the 1969 campaign with 30 HRs and 92 RBIs. Harrelson is currently still in the broadcast booth with the
Chicago White Sox.
Rich "Goose" Gossage
1972 Puerto Rican League Stickers #132 "Rick" Gossage
I really don't consider Rich "Goose" Gossage a "Freak" or a "Geek." But he certainly looks like one on this rare 1972 Puerto Rican League Stickers card (above). Talk about a bad hair day. But in his
day he was one of the best closers in the game and he frequently would pitch 3 innings to finish up a game. One of the best relief pitchers ever and now a Hall of Famer, Goose Gossage. This sticker card
actually pre-dates Gossage's rookie card (1973 Topps #174). I saw it on eBay for $50.
1976 Topps #1 Joe Garagiola (NBC All-Stars)
I haven't heard the unflattering term "EGGHEAD" in quite some time, but it certainly applies here. Couldn't Topps have used a better picture for Joe? And why didn't Garagiola sue for damages?
Regardless, this is a pretty scarce card. While it looks like a 1973 Topps card, it is actually a 1976 issue that Topps made especially for Garagiola as a business card. The back of the card has Joe's
phone number on it. At the time Joe was working as a broadcaster for NBC's Major League Baseball Game Of The Week."
Here we present the highly unpredictable, volatile, explosive, zany, creative, and always entertaining... Jimmy Piersall! This is just one sampling of the many photographs of Jim Piersall that I have
seen that show Piersall creating havoc both on and off the field. In this 1962 AP Wire Photo dated Aug. 21, Jimmy is shown in action after being ejected from a game for dropping his bat (most likely
intentionally) after the umpire had called a strike on the first pitch. The first photo shows Pierall climbing the dugout railing, while the second shows his teammates trying to restrain him in the dugout.
Episodes like this were not uncommon with Piersall, who suffers with a Bi-Polar disorder. We love him just the same! For more on Piersall check out our highly entertaining Jimmy Piersall Page!
1970 Topps Bill McCool (you're kidding, right?)