Reader Bruce Menard recently clued me in regarding a chapter from fairly recent MLB history that I hadn’t been aware of. It involves a guy named Jay Mazzone, who worked as a batboy for the Orioles in the late 1960s. The unusual thing about Mazzone is that he’d lost his hands when he was two years old after his snow suit caught on fire, so he used metal hooks in lieu of fingers. This certainly made him an unusual sight on the field (for all of these images, you can click to enlarge):
Mazzone began working for the Orioles in 1966. He apparently started as a batboy for the visiting teams, as you can see in these ’66 shots of him in a Kansas City A’s uniform:
It didn’t take long for Mazzone to become something of a media sensation, and the Orioles soon had him working for the home team. He became so well-known that they even gave him a FNOB jersey:
Note the “20″ on his batting helmet — Frank Robinson’s number. Could Mazzone have been wearing one of Robby’s helmets?
By 1971, Mazzone had become such a celebrity in the baseball world that he was presented with his own signature Louisville Slugger bat:
Looks like ol’ Jay was getting a bit mod in his high school years, eh? That suit is priceless, and the facial stubble is a nice touch. Hey, I’m sure you can smoke a joint just as effectively with metal hooks as you can with fingers (maybe better, since you don’t have to worry about burning your fingertips).
Want to know more? The Baltimore Sun did one of those “Where are they now?” pieces on Mazzone in the summer of 2007. You can check that out here.
By Brinke Guthrie
CC is all-NFL this week, as we gear up for this weekend’s conference championship games. Ready? Here we go:
• This 1970s Patriots switchplate cover looks to have been modeled after Earl Campbell (who never played for the Pats, obviously). Even looks like he’s wearing No. 34!
• I like this Patriots helmet buggy. Why don’t they still have these on field?!
• New England fans, suit up in this 1960s Pats snowsuit before heading to your next game at Gillette.
• I’ve never seen a 49ers Starter warm-up before, but seeing is believing.
• This 1960s 49ers Technigraph plaque is priced to move…kinda.
• Here’s something you don’t often (or ever) see: a vintage Niners hand puppet. What?
• Here’s a 1960s Niners serving tray — perfect for your NFC championship game TV party.
• Here we have a very nice 1970s Falcons gym bag.
• Some Fleer Falcons big signs here. Is that Bartkowski wearing a Muncie facemask?
• Not much in the way of vintage Ravens merch, for obvious reasons. So let’s search for vendors who lost their NFL license. I recall the Logo Athletic style of this Ravens cap to be quite horrid.
• Did I say horrid cap design? This Ravens cap from Starter qualifies.
• And I must say, I like this Ravens logo a lot better than the cartoon bird.
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
ABA Photo Contest: Our friends at Grey Flannel Auctions have launched a new project to create a completely ABA uniform database. This is a trickier proposition than you might think — there are lots of gaps in the ABA’s visual record. So the Grey Flannel folks are issuing a challenge, in the form of contest: Take the rest of this week to dig through your archives, poke around on Google, or whatever. (Hint: Don’t bother with RememberTheABA.com — that stuff is already covered.) If you can find any ABA uniforms not already shown on the Grey Flannel site, send them to me. The person who comes up with the best find(s) will win a $250 Grey Flannel gift card.
Deadline: This Friday, Jan. 18, 7pm Eastern. Happy hunting!
PermaRec update: You’ve heard about found photographs, but what about a found memory card? That’s the basis of the latest entry on the Permanent Record Blog.
Uni Watch News Ticker: If you like the Braves’ new BP cap, you’ll just love these new “sportswear” designs from Adidas. Perfect for that 10K race down the Trail of Tears, or wherever your Manifest Destination might be. No word on whether you get a free headdress with each purchase (thanks, Kirsten). … I’m still calling it Cleveland Browns Stadium (from Johnny Bruno). … Very interesting piece about why cell service at sporting events often sucks (thanks, Teebz). … Here’s a chart showing the evolution of the Superman logo (from Kurt Esposito). … Gideon Black asked why I didn’t say anything about the Texans wearing solid-white on the road on Sunday. Honestly, I didn’t realize it was a noteworthy look for them. But sure enough, they only went solid-white one time this season, and that was at home. “They usually only wear the all-white at home for the first couple weeks of each season (I guess because of heat), while on the road it’s always blue pants,” says Gideon. So there you go. … New logo for the Kentucky state high school basketball tourney (from Josh Claywell). … FNOB alert! That’s Mark Hammerstein (duh) of the 1986 Michigan football team (from Mako Mameli). … MLB is on a communications kick: Last week it was cell phones in the dugout, this week it’s interpreters on the mound (and no corporate tie-in either, not bad!). … Latest college hoops team to wear those NBA/Xmas-style uniforms: Baylor (from Curtis Schroeder). … What’s that wrapped around Josh Johnson’s left knee — tape? Elastic? (From Marc Bauche.) … What was the deal with Marshawn Lynch’s socks on Sunday? “Those are Strideline socks,” explains Joe Mueller. “They have city skylines on them.” … Lots of photos of Korea’s WBC uniform here (from Dan Kurtz). … I’m off to Long Island to see my Mom today. Play nice while I’m away, yes? Yes.