Obscure Yanks and Sox

There’s a fun post on Bronx Banter about Alex Belth’s recent trip with a few friends to Sunday’s game at the Stadium. One of his buddies took a few photos which Alex posted. The last one is a hilarious shot of two of his friends wearing Ed Whitson and Wayne Tolleson T-shirts.

The photo got me to thinking about a certain type of baseball fan, the one who revels in the humor of a reference to a semi-obscure player. Having never read Nick Hornby’s novels, I might unintentionally be repeating a connection he makes in his work, but I’ll go ahead anyway. This fan is somewhat akin to an indie rock fan boy, or an underground hip-hop aficionado, in that one of the results of their fandom is an impressive storage of  useless information and obscure names like 3xDope, The Flaming Groovies, The Perfect Disaster, The Juice Crew (if I weren’t a poseur I’d be able to come up with better examples). Among fans of these types of music, the mention of these names is a way for the speaker and listener to bond over their hard-earned bit of knowledge. Is the utterance of "Whitson" and "Tolleson" not similar? Did Yankees fans, who suffered through the years when these players got serious playing time, earn some loyalty points in rooting for these unheralded Yanks? Was that not hard-earned knowledge? Are they not better fans for it?

Also, are these obscure references a palatable way to remember the difficult past? It’s said that Proust bit into a madeleine, a bland cookie, and four volumes of memories filled his mind. I say "Andy Stankiewicz", my Sox friend says "Spike Owen," and we’re for a second transported to that time when Calvin Schiraldi closed games at Fenway, and Stump Merrill and his belly leaned against dugout railing.

What names do you think of when remembering less glorious Yankees and Sox teams?

26 comments… add one
  • Paul Zuvella! He made make Alvaro Espinoza look like Derek Jeter.

    YF May 15, 2006, 3:50 pm
  • as for former yankees, matt nokes will always stand out. Topps had a way of picking Rated Rookies that defied anything related to baseball (ie; nick esasky). on the sox side, izzy alcantara made an indelible mark on my baseball mind. if you’ve never seen the brawl he started in pawtucket you should google it. best baseball brawl of all time. his 35 career ab’s with the sox on the other hand did not stand out.

    sf rod May 15, 2006, 3:52 pm
  • Randy Kutcher, Tim Blackwell, Gary Allenson, Rey Quinones, Jackie Gutierrez…
    I could go on and on.

    SF May 15, 2006, 4:04 pm
  • The Q: Carlos Quintana.

    airk May 15, 2006, 4:07 pm
  • Bob “Steamer” Stanley.

    The Fare Cod May 15, 2006, 4:58 pm
  • Bo Diaz. I remember his Sox rookie card in the mid-70s – it was one of those four players to a card jobs. He never really made any kind of impact (he may even have spent time with the Yankees as well), and I think he ended up getting electrocuted installing an antenna on his house after he retired. Seriously.

    SF May 15, 2006, 5:10 pm
  • Wow, the wikipedia entry on Bo Diaz is crazy-detailed. A correction: he was killed when a satellite dish he was working on on his roof fell on him.

    SF May 15, 2006, 5:12 pm
  • Dan Pasqua

    NickYF May 15, 2006, 5:12 pm
  • Pat Kelly

    Bozo May 15, 2006, 5:24 pm
  • 10 YFSF Deduction points to Bozo for mentioning Pat Friggin’ Kelly. Grrrr. That name still makes me cringe.

    YF May 15, 2006, 5:27 pm
  • What was that one guy who pitched in the 80’s? Robert Clements? I think he had some nickname too…
    Kudos to airk for the Q reference. My age would easily be shown by the # of players I recall from pre vs post ’84.

    Mayday Malone May 15, 2006, 5:34 pm
  • You gotta love Pat Kelly. True story: Sitting with wife (but not at the time) watching Yankee game early 90’s:
    Wife: Who’s that?
    Bozo: Pat Kelly, rookie 2nd base for the Yanks.
    Wife: He doesn’t look like a Pat, he looks like a Tim. That’s what I’ll call him, Tim Kelly.
    Let’s hear it for Tim Kelly.

    Bozo May 15, 2006, 5:38 pm
  • my fav player who most sports fans prolly never heard of unless your a fan of the team he played for…
    Bob Zupcic
    He wasnt great, didnt last long, but I always loved watching him play, specially they way his cheeks puffed out when he was batting.

    Travis May 15, 2006, 5:55 pm
  • That’s 20 Deduction Points, Bozo!

    YF May 15, 2006, 6:05 pm
  • My favorite newspaper headline regarding a player acquisition……..
    “Yanks Gamble on Oscar”

    October 2, 1978 May 15, 2006, 6:07 pm
  • Rogelio Moret

    Tom sf May 15, 2006, 7:05 pm
  • Sam Militello

    NickYF May 15, 2006, 7:06 pm
  • Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. Wonder how Steinbrenner would have liked those two??
    They traded wives during the ’68 season, for those still damp behind the ears.

    Tom sf May 15, 2006, 7:17 pm
  • Pasquel Perez…I don’t thinkthey ever DID locate him.

    walein May 15, 2006, 7:26 pm
  • Diego Segui

    SF May 15, 2006, 8:10 pm
  • Tom Brunansky, famous for catching the clinching out in the Sox’ 1990 divisional championship — and also nice enough to autograph and return a baseball card I sent to him through the mail. The list of players who did that for me as a kid is a veritable encyclopedia of obscure early-90s Sox players:
    Lee Tinsley
    Ken Ryan
    Frank White (1st base coach at the time)
    Mo Vaughn was the only player of any consequence who sent a card back with his signature. And he’s always tied in my mind with another obscure Sock — Scott Cooper, 2-time All-Star in the pre-Mo days, the Sox’ lone selection in 1993 and 1994, unjustly taking the spot from Mo the latter year. Ahh, those childhood days, when I listened to nearly every game on WTIC… Horrible teams, for the most part, especially compared to today’s perennial playoff apearances, but nostalgia has a way of coloring everything a nice shade of rose…

    Paul A. May 15, 2006, 11:40 pm
  • Marty Barrett

    Mad Farmer May 16, 2006, 10:16 am
  • Bobby Meacham
    Wade Taylor

    NickYF May 16, 2006, 12:55 pm
  • Dave Stapleton, Jack Brohamer, Win Remmerswaal, Tom Poquette, Steve Crawford, Ed Jurak

    drewspop May 16, 2006, 1:32 pm
  • Does Marty Barrett count? I mean, he did win the ALCS MVP in 86. But then I do have about 70 baseball cards of his, and it’s a good rule that the more cards of a player I have, the more obscure they are (I’m pretty sure I have every Jody Reed card ever made between 1988 and 1992).

    Paul A. May 16, 2006, 3:42 pm
  • Scott Erickson

    NickYF May 18, 2006, 3:08 pm

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