Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How big of a dick . . .

Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.

. . . would you have to be to try to steal a game this way?

On April 21, 1957, Cubs pitcher Don Kaiser was scheduled to start against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. It was his first game of the season and the opener of a Sunday doubleheader.

Just before game time, a telegram addressed to Kaiser was received in the press box.

The wire read, “Phone home immediately. Mother desperately ill. Dad.”

Because the telegram was datelined Brooklyn and Kaiser was from Oklahoma, Ed Prell, a Chicago Tribune writer who delivered the message to the dugout, suggested to Kaiser that it was a phony.

After reading the wire, Kaiser agreed, saying, “My mom died on my last birthday.”

Kaiser started as scheduled, but left the game after pitching eight innings with no decision. The Cubs won the game 5-3.

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