Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Owen's ear assault predated Mike Tyson

Uncommon commons. Contemporary accounts of tidbits that as a collector of baseball and football cards I found interesting because they helped bring to life the faces on the cards I collected. I figure that if I found these items of interest, so would other vintage card collectors.

Mickey Owen had a long -- 13 seasons between 1937 and 1954 -- and productive career in the major leagues though his unfortunate legacy is that of the dropped third strike in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 1941 World Series, preventing the Dodgers from pulling within a game of the Yankees, who won the series 4-1.

Owen was also one of a handful of major leaguers who were banned for three years (1946-48) for jumping their Organized Baseball contracts to take fat paychecks in the Mexican League in 1946.

With that type of material to work with, I doubt that Owen's assault of Newport News Dodgers pitcher Owen Maguire in 1953 was, as Maguire contended in a $20,000 lawsuit, "without justification or provocation." It is likely that Maguire said something that set Owen, manager of the Norfolk Tars, off on a Mike Tyson-esque rampage.

Owen was playing-manager of the Yankees' farm club in the Class B Piedmont League at the time of the attack during the Sept. 15 game.

It was reported that 20 stitches were required  after Owen bit through Maguire's right ear.

Owen denied the charge, but was fined $25 the league president.

It's not know how the lawsuit was resolved.

Owen went on to the found the renowned Mickey Owen Baseball School in the Ozarks (alumni include Michael Jordan and Charlie Sheen).

After appears in Play Ball baseball card sets in 1939-40 and the Doubleheader set of 1941, Owen dropped off baseball card checklist until the 1950-51 Bowman sets. He never appeared on a Topps card.

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