Portraits of the Dead-Ball Era

If you were to ask me, the Seventies didn’t really die until 1984. I make this statement based on my Hanukkah and birthday gifts of recent years, the big Bloom County omnibuses chronicling the years 1980-84.  A scan thru the ol’ Bloom County shows us the Seventies vestiges — ‘Cutter John’ the Coming Home stand-in and his Star Trek adventures with the meadow creatures, Bobbi Harlow the Liberated Single Career Gal,  Limekiller the Hunter S. Thompson-type — all disappearing by 1984, along with massive sideburns and Frito Bandito mustaches for white guys.  Why, in some backwards prefectures, the Seventies didn’t end until 1987, when Top Gun came out on home video and everybody with whiskers and a butt cut found the local barbershop that had been foundering since 1972 and came out with a flattop and went home and shaved their sideburns an inch above their ears, ready to shovel dirt on their Johnny Lee and Charlie Daniels tapes.  This has little to do with our Mr. Leonard here, except these images were from the cards Topps issued in 1981 and 1982, respectively, except that I’m sure that if his pitching career had lasted thru the decade (and no, I haven’t checked) he would at some point be clean shaven, with sideburns like Charlie Sheen wore in Major League —  that is to say, blinding white spots of Caucasoid skin.

Ah, fashion doesn’t really reach ballplayers that quick.  You’d have to give a ballplayer ’til 1990 to lay that Dippity Do into a spiky haircut.

More portraits from the Jerry Koosman Gallery of Globular Cheeks, brought to you by Red Man Straight Cut Tobacco Plugs.

For those of you who saw my Greg Luzinski post from the other day and worried horribly about the way he had to present himself in those ‘modern’ 80’s uniforms, he also did what every guitar-picking Casanever does when he hits 30 and his metabolism slows down: he just picked out a dark shirt and left it untucked.  Hey, I’m convinced.

Aaah, Seventies hats.  Big as a ****ing circus tent they were.  I was distressed when baseball-style caps were replaced with the smaller, form-fitting ‘frat dork’ hats in the Nineties. However, the combination of ‘Big Seventies Baseball-Style Cap’ and ‘Seventies Design and Coloration’ turn ‘Dick Davis’ into ‘Dick Doofus.’

Young, lean Mike Hargrove.  Oh, I’ve got me some Mike Hargroves — were I a crueler man, we could lay them out and watch him balloon over the years.  It just wouldn’t be right, after the way the Orioles treated him, the front office blaming him for the team’s cromulent performance, giving him the bum’s rush and hiring savior Lee Mazzilli, who got even less out of the team before being sacked for a succession of bench coaches and interim-named coaches.  Sure, he was a boring manager, but I think the years have revealed that the O’s front office favors fielding a team of minor leaguers between mid-May and late August (picking up the slack for the aging ‘roid sluggers who spend all that time on the DL), and there was little he could have done.

Gorman Thomas, in this portraiture, looks like one of those out-of-town goons that wind up in Hazzard County working for some gangster who wants in on some kind of racket Boss Hogg hasn’t thought of yet, and who always get dirt sprayed on them by the General Lee, or wind up chained to a post watching Crystal Gayle belt one out at the Boar’s Nest by the end of the episode.

The very first sports magazine I ever got was, fittingly enough, Sport Magazine.  I got it in the spring of 1981; Dave Parker was on the cover but the real reason I got it was an article on Eddie Murray.  The Eddie Murray article was much shorter than the Dave Parker cover piece, and over the years, I eventually read that article, no, hagiography of ‘The Cobra,’ and as the years went by wondered why I hadn’t heard much of him in my morning Sun‘s sport pages.  The answer is in 1981 the then-staggering ‘$5 million man’ became quite injury-prone.  By 1983, as we see here, he couldn’t even do sit-ups and he became — you guessed it — Dave Porker.


About rockiebee

Husband. Dad. Carpenter. Troubadour. Creative Director for an action figure theater troupe. Video director. Critic. Comics fan.
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