Boneyard Media


Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Song IDs: Willie Mays – “My Sad Heart”/ “If You Love Me” (1962)

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 1.52.54 PM

In the realm of musical recordings made by athletes, which includes such sobering entries as Terry Bradshaw’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Ron Cey’s “Third Base Bag,” and Shaquille O’Neal’s “I Know I Got Skillz,” this one’s as good as it gets. Willie Mays’s “My Sad Heart”/”If You Love Me” came out the same year his San Francisco Giants lost a hard-fought seven-game World Series to the New York Yankees, and it reveals a musical version of the Say Hey Kid as appealing as the famous baseball version.

We can tell from both sides of the record that Mays had good taste, demonstrating familiarity with Sonny Till and the Orioles (side A), Bobby Blue Bland (side B), and Little Willie John (side B). Writer credits for both went to Deadric Malone, the pseudonym for Don Robey, who owned the Duke-Peacock label empire. Before this, Mays had appeared on a 1954 cut credited to “Willie Mays of the New York Giants with the Treniers” called “Say Hey (the Willie Mays Song),” one of the other great baseball singles. Did any suspicion-prone baseball people notice in ’62 that the previous time the Giants had won a pennant Mays also recorded a single? (1954 was the year the New York Giants swept the Cleveland Indians and Willie made his celebrated catch.) He should have been pumping out a record every year since then.

I’m hoping someone will step forward with footage of Willie Mays’ 1962 appearance on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s TV show to promote “My Sad Heart,” which never ended up charting.

***

Willie Mays – “My Sad Heart” (1962) : Maybe this song’s lack of chart success, come to think of it, had to do with its having no title hook.

Willie Mays – “If You Love Me” (1962)

Willie Mays of the New York Giants with the Treniers – “Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song” (1954)

Straw Hat Busting Day

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

9190cq3xcsl

Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Andy Coakley, quoted in The Big Show: Charles M. Conlon’s Golden Age Baseball Photographs (p. 21): “It was September 1 [1905], and that was Straw Hat Busting Day in the major leagues. The custom died with the retirement of Babe Ruth. Rube Waddell was going around destroying straw hats. I had a pretty expensive skimmer which was in fine condition, and Waddell was waiting for me. As he ran for my hat, I backed up the aisle. He lunged. I struck him with my bag. He slipped and landed on his shoulder.” This kept Waddell from pitching in the World Series where his A’s lost to the Giants.

Stars and Strikes and nicknames

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

611fg2agtrl_sy344_bo1204203200_Dan Epstein’s Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of ’76 tells the story of my baseball card collection, most of which I amassed as an 8-year-old in ’76 and ’77. In those days I loved the Bird, the Big Red Machine, and Hostess products, which came in boxes with baseball cards you could cut out. Still have my Dave Concepcion, Goose Gossage, Richie Zisk and more from that series along with most of the Topps cards. I had already scarfed down Epstein’s Big Hair and Plastic Grass, so I was especially pleased to see he’d zeroed in on the year of my personal baseball awakening. I hope he has more projects lined up.

For your enjoyment – a list of selected players and managers whose nicknames are addressed in Epstein’s book, along with links to their corresponding ’77 Topps card.

Sparky “Captain Hook” Anderson:  So nicknamed “for his tendency to pull pitchers at the first sign of trouble” (135).

John”The Candy Man” Candelaria: “Looked more like the sort of college kid you’d see smoking a jay upstairs in the cheap seats at Three Rivers Stadium than a top-notch pitcher capable of dominating major league offenses” (241).

Ron “The Penguin” Cey: Nickname “derived from his squat build, stubby limbs, and waddling gait…” (94).

Darrell “Nort” Chaney: Nickname chosen by the Atlanta Braves for the team’s nickname-on-jersey experiment “because of his resemblence to Art Carney’s Ed Norton character on TV’s The Honeymooners” (138).

Mark “The Bird” Fidrych: So nicknamed because of his “resemblance to Big Bird from the PBS children’s show Sesame Street” (128).

Tim “Crazy Horse” Foli: Nicknamed for his “tendency to go off on his own abrasive tangents” (158).

“Disco” Dan Ford: Nicknamed “for his love of the Minneapolis nightlife” (107).

Whitey “The White Rat” Herzog: “A reference to his shock of light blond hair” (258).

Burt “Happy” Hooton: He was “perpetually gloomy looking” (203).

Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky: “Perhaps the most confrontational pitcher in the game” (112).

Ralph “Road Runner” Garr: “Speedy” (15).

Randy “The Junkman” Jones: For his junk ball – a “sinking fastball that topped out on a good day at somewhere around 73 miles per hour” but which batters were “losing their minds trying to hit…out of the infield” (131).

Dave “Kong” Kingman: He preferred to be called “Sky King” (110).

Garry “The Secretary of Defense” Maddox: Because of his “startling speed and sparkling glove work in the outfield” (28).

Mike “Iron Mike” Marshall: For “herculean” performances in 1973 and 1974 that “earned him the first Cy Yound Award ever won by a relief pitcher” (62).

Andy “Bluto” Messersmith: As part of the Braves’ nickname-on-jersey experiment, Messersmith had to use “Channel” because his number was 17 and that was Ted Turner’s station. He was later permitted to use his college nickname “Bluto” (139).

Phil “Knucksie” Niekro: Knuckleballer (139).

Marty “Taco” Perez: Not a racial slur, but chosen as his Atlanta Braves jersey nickname because he “really, really liked tacos” (139).

George “Boomer” Scott: “The most feared hitter in the Milwaukee lineup” (131).

Earl “Heavy” Williams: Self-chosen for the Atlanta Braves nickname-on-jersey experiment “because the moody catcher and first baseman considered himself to be one bad dude” (138).

Players with Topps cards whose nicknames are mentioned but not addressed:

“Downtown” Ollie Brown
Rick “The Rooster” Burleson
Jim “Catfish” Hunter
Bill “Mad Dog” Madlock
Lynn “Big Mac” McGlothen
John “The Hammer” Milner
John “The Count” Montefusco
Dave “The Cobra” Parker
Biff “Poco” Pocoroba
Rick “The Whale” Reuschel
Fred “Chicken” Stanley
Dick “Dirt” Tidrow
Jim “The Toy Cannon” Wynn

Brother Parker, by Paul Borelli

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

brother_parker

Paul Borelli is currently working on a series of Pittsburgh Pirate batting champs, which he’s calling “HITsburgh, PA.” This one’s devoted to the Cobra, Dave Parker. He was the NL crown winner for 1977 and 1978 and then enjoyed a World Series victory with the Bucs at Baltimore’s expense in ‘79. Although he was nicknamed the Cobra for his peculiar, coiled up batting stance, Paul wisely sidestepped this theme, which I imagine would flirt too easily with the realm of velvet Elvis. So he went with this Parker Brothers theme instead, which is based on a game you might remember called Outwit. He especially liked that tagline, “It looks easy ’til you try it,” because it “could apply to the game, hitting a baseball, or even painting a picture.”

Chicago White Sox uniforms (1976)

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

whitesox1976a

1976 is my favorite baseball year for many reasons. Here’s one of them: The White Sox wore silly shorts for the first game of a double header vs. the Royals in August and then never wore them again. Like soccer players with caps. That’s Bucky Dent, Clay Carroll and Chet Lemon in the picture.