Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dave Baldwin on baseball cards

Dave Baldwin pitched for the Senators, Brewers and White Sox from 1966 to 1973. In 176 games, all in relief, he went 6-11 with 23 saves and a 3.08 ERA. After his career he a Ph.D. in genetics and worked as a researcher and engineer, as well as a published poet and artist. He has written a memoir about his baseball career called Snake Jazz. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

 - Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players? My most popular card is the 1971 "Howdy Doody" impersonation. One blog called it the second ugliest baseball card ever. Here's how it happened.  In 1971 I was in spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers. I had pitched well for them in '70, so I wasn't expecting any abrupt changes in my career. One day I had finished running my laps and was headed for the showers when a photographer suddenly appeared out of nowhere and said, "Could you take off your cap, please?" I was tired, sweat was dripping off every part of me, and I was thinking hard about an long overdue lunch. I took off my cap, tried to comply with his "smile" command, heard a click, and then continued on to the locker room. I had no idea the photo was for a Topps card. If I had known, it would have occurred to me that I was about to be traded or sold to another team -- players are asked to remove their caps so that the cap of the new team could be added easily. A couple of days later I was told that I had been bought by the Hawaii team of the Pacific Coast League. My major league career was at an end, essentially.
- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
My favorite card is that of Don Mossi, the relief pitcher for the
 Indians and A's in the 1950s and '60s. My card was only the 
second ugliest because Mossi's was definitely the gliest. Absolutely. 
No question about that.
- Do you collect baseball cards?
Only those of Don Mossi.