Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Player Profile: Larvell Blanks

I have three cards of Larvell Blanks. This one is from 1979 Topps.

Playing career: Infielder Larvell “Sugar Bear” Blanks (the nickname supposedly came from a popular song when he was in the minor leagues) was a decent hitting but poor-fielding infielder for some bad Braves, Indians and Rangers teams in the 1970s, an era when teams usually carried infielders who were good fielders but poor bats. Blanks was often frustrated about lack of playing time, especially when Frank Robinson was his manager in Cleveland (though a widely circulated story that Blanks burned his uniform in the Indians’ clubhouse is likely apocryphal). A fuller account of his career can be found at the 1975, 1976 and 1977 Topps blogs.

Blog synchronicity: This is this blog's 1971st post. In 1971 Blanks played at AA Savannah, hitting .222 with 14 HR and 48 RBI.

Where he is now: He is a longtime youth baseball and tennis instructor who is currently focused on golf. In 2010 he played on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour, winning four tournaments. He is now a part of the Individual Golf Tour. On Saturday he didn't have a great tournament, finishing 25th at The Wilderness, but a week earlier he won the tournament at Colo Vista, earning a $725 payday.

Interesting facts: His uncle Sid Blanks was an All-Pro running back for the Houston Oilers. Sid’s son Lance Blanks, Larvell’s cousin, played in the NBA and is now the General Manager of the Phoenix Suns.

My memories: Before my time. Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Larvel, between Larvelle Jones and Larvell Jones Nickname, both of which refer to Michael Winslow’s “Motor Mouth” character in Police Academy. There do not appear to be any other prominent Larvell Blankses.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Joe Blanton.

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