I love baseball and I love bowling, so I was plenty stoked when reader Bruce Menard found a bunch of photos from a 1963 event called the NBC Major League All-Star Base/Bowl Championship. As you’ll see in a second, the photos offer a rare look at the tasty intersection of these two great sports.
Bruce and I have been able to identify many of the players in these shots, but not all of them. Maybe you can help fill in some of the blanks..? Let’s take a look:
• Here’s Stan the Man batting and Elston Howard catching, but I’m not sure who the pitcher is. I love that Elston isn’t behind the dish — he’s behind the dish towel.
• Frank Robinson showed good form on the lanes, and I totally want his shirt.
• Here’s Robbie again, with pitcher Jim O’Toole on the right (love the texture on his undershirt). I believe the guy in the center is Cincy skipper Fred Hutchinson.
• You recognize these guys, right? That’s Yaz and Ron Santo.
• All the recent Duke Snider obits somehow failed to include this photo. That’s Duke on the left (again, great texture on the ribbed sleeve cuff). Not 100%-positive who’s on the right, but I think it’s George Altman.
• I believe that’s Duke again at far right in this shot. Looks like Nellie Fox next to him, except Fox didn’t join the Colts until 1964, and these photos are supposedly from ’63. Hmmm. Not sure about the other players.
• Here we have a trio of kegglin’ Cardinals. From left to right, that’s Stan the Man, pitcher Ernie Broglio, and pitcher Curt Simmons (who has his uni number inscribed on his sneakers — cute). Note that their three undershirts feature three distinct sleeve cuff styles.
• Simmons apparently won the tournament, at least judging by this shot.
Bruce enjoyed our back-and-forth on this topic so much that he went digging in his photo archives and found a 1940s shot of Babe Ruth at the lanes, which in turn reminded me of a photo that showed the Babe engaging in duckpins (he was from Baltimore, after all). In fact, one long-accepted account — now disputed — is that duckpins was actually invented at a bowling center owned by future Baseball Hall of Famers John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson. Although the tale may be apocryphal, it still speaks to the natural overlap between baseball and bowling.
And then Bruce went a bit further: “I think Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto owned a bowling alley together in Clifton, New Jersey. Gotta be some good pics of that floating around.” Sure enough, an hour later he’d found that the book Yogi Berra: An American Original features a short chapter, including some photos, devoted to Yogi’s and Scooter’s pin-bashing palace.
Even better, Bruce found a 1970s commercial of Yogi shilling for an early AMF auto-scoring system. Dig:
The advent of auto-scoring, of course, was the beginning of the end for bowling as we know it, so it’s disappointing to see that Yogi (who was skippering the Mets around the time that commercial was shot) was advocating for something so antithetical to true bowling values. But hey, he was wrong about pitching Seaver and Matlack on three days’ rest in the ’73 Series, too. Even the all-time greats sometimes mess up.
Uni Watch News Ticker: My collection of mid-century tap knobs is currently being featured over at Design Observer. … Love all the stripes in this photo. “I found it glued to the bottom of a TV dinner tray in a thrift store in Clinton, Maryland,” says Timothy Steffes. … “Saw this article about a special Player Edition shoe made up for Shaq if Boston had made the NBA Finals,” writes Collin Wright. “I like the personal logo on the shoe — it looks like the Superman shield, but they’ve replaced the S with a shamrock.” … Speaking of Nike footwear, check out Jeremy Guthrie’s custom cleated Jordans (with thanks to Kory Jalowiec). … A Canadian chain called Boston Pizza is changing its name for the Stanley Cup Final(s), which explains their ad on the boards the other night (with thanks to Chris Hodge for the article and to Greg Michelena for the screen shot). … Nice hose! That’s from the annual Rickwood Classic game down in Alabama. Lots more pics here (with thanks to Mark McCollister). … Deadspin had an interesting piece yesterday on some prototype Heat logos that never came to fruition. … Latest evidence that anything is possible when you have no shame: The Indians have struck a corporate-douchebaggery deal with the world’s most notorious environmental criminals. The real gem is buried in the fourth graf, where we learn that BP now holds the naming rights to the team’s batting practice. “Really?” asks an exasperated Mike Meilhls. “Is this now ‘BP by BP’? What happens when the Reds come to town and Brandon Philips joins in — is it ‘BP by BP with BP’?” I have so far been unable to confirm whether shaving cream pies in the face will be replaced by a splash of crude oil. … When the Browns moved from St. Louis and became the Baltimore Orioles, someone must have thought their uniforms would feature birds on a bat, Cardinals-style. “That’s a Bowman baseball card from the franchise’s first year in Baltimore,” explains Alan Tompas. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: the best uniforms on a statue project ever! … New World Cup jersey for South Africa. Here’s the alternate. “The new jerseys do not feature the traditional springbok logo — a sad example of what happens when governments get involved with sports,” says Joe Alvernaz. … During yesterday’s Mets/Bucs broadcast on SNY, Ralph Kiner told a story about Ron Hunt that I’d never heard before: When Hunt was routinely leading the league in being hit by pitches — including in 1971, when he was hit 50 times — Hunt wore a wetsuit under his uniform, with the layer of rubber providing a layer of cushioning. Or at least that’s what Hunt told Kiner, and what Kiner then said on the air yesterday. Sounds like it might be a tall tale. … Kiner also offered a few choice remarks and historical details about batting helmets, which Tim Burke helpfully captured on video. … Hey, who’s that in the front row, third from the right, No. 41? As you can see in the caption, it’s Big Klu! “He played basketball at Indiana as a freshman, but only for two games,” says Jason Baker. And hey, no sleeves, true to form. … New alternate kit for Newcastle United (with thanks to Randy Williams). … On the subject of cap logos on Hall of Fame plaques, check out what Carlton Fisk had to say in this 1993 SI piece (sent our way by Joe Owen): “He is so bitter that, he says, when his plaque is being engraved for the Hall of Fame, he doesn’t want to be pictured in a White Sox hat, and he also doesn’t want to be pictured in a Red Sox hat.Is there any rule against being pictured ‘as a civilian with a Nike swoosh across the front of my hat?’ he asks.” … Looks like Towson’s new basketball court will feature tiger stripes (as noted by Joe Hilseberg). … Did you know that the Cubs have never lost while wearing throwbacks? It’s true! Here’s a game-by-game — and uni-by-uni — breakdown (with thanks to Eli Selzer). … Here’s a nice little video segment on the Packers’ helmets (big thanks to Alex Bauer). … The NASL’s San Antonion Scorpions have unveiled their uniforms (thanks, Kenn). … New logo for the Big Ten Network (with thanks to MJ Kurs-Lasky). … Jeremy Brahm reports that the Orix Buffaloes will be wearing “revenge red” jerseys with special patches for their series against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks on July 2 and 3. … Check out these baseball alphabet cards that Nicole Haase found. Very cool-looking illos. …