Héroes de Cartón: A Cuban Collection

When I first traveled to Cuba in 2015, I had hoped to bring home some cards of the stars I would be seeing while I was on my baseball tour. Still naive about the differences between Cuban baseball and the major leagues, I believed that there would be such a thing. I knew the stadium amenities weren’t going to be luxurious (they weren’t) and the food at the park was bound to be lousy (it often was, though the pulled pork sliders I bought outside of Estadio 26 de Julio in Aretmisa remain vividly delicious in my memory). Still, surely an enterprising soul, or the government, had managed to publish a few sets of baseball cards. I was quickly corrected by none other than fellow traveler and Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman. He informed me there were no modern cards in Cuba. There was one set published in 1994 which included pre-MLB cards for the Hernández brothers, Liván and Orlando. The one before that was sold in the 1950s.

I had never given much thought of what it would be like to be a youthful fan who could not regularly experience baseball cards. I loved the cards long before I truly loved the game. In the days before the internet and daily airings on team-owned networks, they were my most direct connection. I thrilled with each new pack and the treasures I found inside.

That same passion, this time on the faces of a gaggle of Cuban children, was on display whenever a member of our group pulled out a pack of Topps at one of the five Serie Nacional contests I attended. They would swarm, a collective that would consume any gleaming picture of a hero-in-action they could get their hands on. Bonus points if it was Yasiel Puig or Aroldis Chapman. At one point I pulled out a business card to give to a local sportswriter and a child’s eager hands immediately reached out to me. Just the image of a baseball on my card was enough to ignite their imaginations.

Jorge Soler’s rookie card appears in the Topps 2015 set, the year I began the collection.

All of this got me thinking about the Cuban stars of the past, and whether they had baseball cards. I had learned that generations of Serie Nacional heroes have never had one. But, what about the hundreds of Cubans who played in the major leagues? Surely many of them must have cards. I first considered starting a collection of all of the cards featuring Cuban-born players. I quickly realized that a complete collection of Cubans was going to necessitate far too much energy and money pursuing just José Canseco. There are roughly 3000 distinct cards of the tainted slugger. I decided that maybe the best way to approach this new whim would be to just get the rookie cards. The set would become relatively finite and definitely more achievable.

Many of them have rookie cards, but certainly not all. Some never had a card issued at all, at least none that my current research has revealed. Others have cards, but not ones that modern collectors consider “rookies.” Cards from a player’s minor league days do not qualify. Neither do cards from foreign leagues, such as the pre-revolution Cuban Winter League.

Tony Taylor’s 1958 Topps rookie card. Taylor is tied with Bert Campaneris for career triples by a Cuban-born player.

Such is the case of the Acosta brothers, José and Merito. The two appeared on Clark Griffith’s Cuban-laden Washington Senators of the 1910s and 20s. However, neither made enough of a mark to appear on a card during World War I and the lean years of the hobby that followed. Cards were produced in smaller sets, thus players like Merito, who appeared in 180 games in the outfield over five seasons, and José, who pitched in 55 games over three years, often fell through the cracks.

However, while playing for the 1923/24 Marianao squad of the Cuban League, they both appeared in a set that was issued in their homeland by Billiken. Like their American counterpart, these cards could be found in packs of cigarettes. In addition to Cubans, they also featured American Negro League legends like Oscar Charleston and Andy Cooper. Per the definitions set by modern collectors, these do not qualify as “rookie cards.” I decided that because so many of the pre-revolution members of the fraternity fell into this category, I was expanding my criteria to include first-known cards, as well.

The most respected Cuban-born player in his homeland is Martín Dihigo, whose 1945/6 Caramelo Deportivo is not a part of the collection because the color line kept him out of the majors.

As of this writing, there have been 208 Cuban-born men who have played or managed in the majors. So far, and research is ongoing, there appear to be 194 cards in the set I have designed. I had four at the outset, just by culling from my own collection: a 1990 issue of Tony Fossas, a 1989 Orestes Destrade, a 1987 Rafael Palmeiro and, from a pack bought in the interest of the project, a 2015 Jorge Soler. All of them happened to be Topps. There are numerous other publishers in this set, including Bowman, Upper Deck and Fleer. Going back before World War II, there are Zeenuts, T207s, an E135, and multiple cards from the candy manufacturer Caramelo Deportivo.

Palmeiro holds most of the offensive records for Cuban-born players, even outshining Hall of Famer Tony Perez. If not for his involvement with PEDs, he’d likely be a Hall of Famer, himself.

The day after I finished the first draft of the checklist for the set, I paid a visit to a comic book store in New Paltz, New York. My ex-wife and I meet there sometimes when we exchange our daughter. B is a fan of comics and I like to encourage my kid to become a nerd, just like her old man. While not a large shop, the collection is extensive and a fan of the genre is certain to leave satisfied.

What it does not have, however, is very many baseball cards for sale. The two collectibles will often appear together at small retail shops like this, though such stores usually lean more heavily in one direction. No one would ever think of this place as a local card shop. But, it does sell packs of the current sets and that day had about 50 individual cards up for grabs. Of those singles, the inventory was split between medium value cards of current players, a sprinkling of stars from 1970s, 80s and 90s, and a few lesser known players from the 60s.

One of those latter cards was from the Topps 1965 set, number 201. Minnesota Twins rookie stars César Tovar and Sandy Valdespino share the honors. Tovar, a native of Venezuela, had a fine twelve-year career with the Twins, Phillies, Rangers, A’s and Yankees. He finished in the top twenty-five in MVP voting every year from 1967-1971 and led the league in doubles and triples in 1970. The Trading Card Database has identified 56 unique cards manufactured for Tovar.

Hilario “Sandy” Valdespino lasted for seven seasons with the Twins, Braves, Astros, Pilots, Brewers and Royals. He did not share the same success as his card-mate, though he did get eleven at bats in the 1965 World Series, contributing a double and a run. Valdespino was born in San Jose de las Lajas in Mayabeque and became the 106th Cuban to appear in the majors when he made his debut on April 12, 1965. Number 201 is his official rookie card, one of only nineteen different identified cards of the outfielder ever produced.

A cardboard miracle.

The odds of finding that card, in that place, just days after I decided to pursue this quest, cannot be calculated. It was a divine intervention, a gift sent by the baseball gods in the form of a fifty-year-old piece of cardboard.

Today I have 115 of the cards from the set. The latest pickup, a W514 of Dolf Luque, is a real beauty. The corners are a little rounded and there are some minor markings on the surface, but it is crease free and remarkably sturdy for something that was printed a century ago. Luque, the first Cuban superstar, is an underappreciated name from yesteryear and a personal favorite. Finally acquiring his card inspired me to tell this story.

Among Cubans, only Luis Tiant put up better career pitching numbers than Dolf Luque. The W514s began production in 1919, the year Luque’s Cincinnati Reds defeated the Black Stockings in the World Series.

As always, the final cards of this set are the most challenging and, of course, the most expensive. It is also a set that is always expanding. Despite the recent short-sighted pronouncements of the current presidential administration, Cubans will continue to find a way to travel those ninety miles to American shores to play the game. Last year, six more made their major league debut. Three of them have rookie cards, so far, and the recent call up by the Yankees of Nestor Cortes, Jr., who had a less-than-impressive debut with Baltimore last March, increases the chances of him getting one at some point this season. When he does, I’ll be there.

Hey! Getcher Managers in Action Baseball Cards Here!

What in the world are they hollering about and pointing at?

We’ll get to that in a moment.

The first set I was introduced to at age six was the Topps 1964 set. Card #413 caught my eye. “Johnny Keane, manager” for the St. Louis Cardinals. Maybe it was the colorful Cards uni or the fact I could see the inside of his hand cupped around his mouth. It’s a terrific piece of flash photography and in a galaxy of it’s own compared to portraits of graying former players leaning against a railing. At least Keane is actually doing some managing for crissakes!

Keane1964

“Hey, Johnson! You’re gonna hit .320 this year, but you’ll be doing it in Altoona!”

The Keane card sent me down a rabbit hole to capture some of my favorite manager cards from the past, along with some new gems I dug up.

Leave it to the hapless Cubs to come up with the hare-brained notion of the “college of coaches,” which started in 1960. After the Wreck of the Hesperus season of 1962, when the Flubbies recorded a super-stinky 59-103 campaign, Philip Wrigley decided a head coach could just as easily drive the ship into the iceberg as the whole gang. Kennedy’s action head coaching cards reveal much about the man and the trauma he suffered.

The ’63 Kennedy pictured is full steam ahead, icebergs be damned. He’s confident in his spring training garb, barking orders to his crew for the fight ahead, “By God, we’ve got Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Lou Brock, Larry Jackson and Dick Ellsworth! The sky’s the limit!” Huzzah! The 1963 Cubs went 82-80, good for 7th place in the NL. Would there be better days ahead?

Kennedy1964

“You guys look like Molly Putz out there! Snap out of it!”

The 1965 Kennedy card says it all. Here is Kennedy, baking under the Arizona sun and his head being driven in his shoulders by the weight of expectations for continued success. He’s holding his hat off his head wondering how in the world he’s supposed to win with 2/3 of his outfield manned by the immortal duo of Billy Cowan and Len Gabrielson (Cowan wasn’t horrible: 19 HR, 50 RBI, 16 doubles, 4 triples in 139 games, but a .268 OBP, BA of .241 and whiffing 25% of the time can be tough on a guy. Cowan also wore the mill stone of “Clubhouse Lawyer” around his neck for much of his career, playing for a total of 6 teams in 8 years). The cavalry was supposed to arrive in the infamous trade that sent the struggling Lou Brock to the Cardinals in exchange for a washed-up and injured Ernie Broglio. It never got there, as Kennedy and his furry flounderers went meekly into that good night with a 76-86 record, in eighth place.

Kennedy1965

“Good gravy. I’m doomed.”

Perhaps Kennedy could have used the sagacity of the 1963 Keane, who went from managing St. Louie to the Yankees after his Cards whupped the Bronx Bombers in the 1964 World Series? Alas, it was not a good fit, as the aging skipper had zero control over a clubhouse of wild party animals and free spirits like the Mick, Whitey Ford, Pepi, and Jim Bouton. Keane delivered an odious cadaver, finishing 6th, the Yankees’ first losing season in 40 years. When the Yanks barfed on themselves to start the 1966 season, going 4-16, Keane and his barf bag were sent packing.

Keane1965

“What was I thinking? I should’ve stayed in St. Louis with Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, and Ken Boyer.”

Then there is the manager who was also a time traveler: Connie Mack. The 1951 Topps All-Star card pictures Mack resplendent in his suit and tie, and telling us the man was born in 1862. 1862! The guy was alive during the Civil War and managed from 1896-1950. The Mack in the ’51 card is sporting some killer two-toned dress shoes and appears to be ambling his way to the nearest Blue Plate Special.

Mack1951

“Dig my crazy Buster Browns!”

Walter Alston always appeared in my ‘60s baseball cards like an old fart battling weekly brain aneurysms. How wrong I was. Walt was a tough SOB who challenged slug-a-bid players and recalcitrants to fistfights. He’s got his right index finger extended and looks like last night’s crab louie didn’t settle well in his 1962 Bell Brand beauty. He is much more cheerful in his 1972 Peter Max-infused Topps card, smiling the smile of a man who knows retirement isn’t far off.

Alston

Alston1972

Lasorda1983

And who is the man who would be king when Alston rode off into the blue? It’s Tommy Lasorda, who is quite active in his Topps cards of the 80s, gesticulating like a man ordering waiters around at an Italian restaurant. The 1988 Topps shows Lasorda after he’s polished off two deep-dish pizzas, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, and a carton of chocolate ice cream with some garlic dip on the side. You wouldn’t be able to move either, which is why baseball’s greatest gourmand is pictured seated in a golf cart.

Lasorda1988

“I’d like to order another plate of rigatoni and clams, please.”

I could die and go to Heaven if there was ever a card of the Seattle Pilots’ Joe Schultz in action, or at least hefting a can of Bud in one hand and a liverwurst sammich in the other. We’ll have to settle for this faux 1969 card instead, as Joe looks out to the field wondering why rookie Lou Piniella is such a huge red ass.

Schultz1969

“God help me.”

The Little General, Gene Mauch, used to have a sign on his desk when managing the Phabulous Phillies of 1964, “Isn’t this a beautiful day? Watch some son-of-a-bitch louse it up.” The sardonic hilarity continued when he made the trip to Montreal, as his 1970 Topps card suggests. Left arm extended, Mean Gene is no doubt showing the way out to a failed Expos pitcher.

mauch1970.jpg

“Hey, you! You’re done!”

I was pleased to find not one, but two cards of John McGraw. The Topps 206 from 2002 features a fusty, colorized Muggsy making a point with his right index finger. His 1911 Conlon beauty might be the greatest of manager action cards: cap pulled low, on the field, legs apart, left knee slightly bent; his right arm is extended as if delivering a right cross to Jack Johnson. By Gar, this is a manager worth his salt.

McGrawT206

McGrawConlon

Managers in action baseball cards I would have loved to see that don’t exist (or couldn’t find): Earl Weaver and Billy Martin bench jockeying opponents and tearing into umpires. Oh well, I’ll always have Bob Kennedy.

 

“Floating Head” Coaches

The 1960 Topps set contains a unique subset: team coaches. Unlike ’73 and ’74 where the coaches appear on the manager’s card, in 1960 they were given special cards all their own. Topps went with the “floating head” design against a blank background. Depending on the team, there are three or four coaches on each. The backs provide brief biographical information. As with the managers in ’60, the cards are vertical, while the player cards have a horizontal design. Here is a look at some of the erstwhile “lieutenants.”

Yankees

The Yankees card features several familiar faces, including Hall-of-Famer and former Bronx Bombers manager Bill Dickey. Ralph Houk — who will replace Casey Stengel in ’61 — will win back-to-back World Series titles in ’61 and ’62. Former ace hurler, Eddie Lopat, will come and go through Charlie Finley’s revolving door in KC as manager in ’63-’64. Of course, Yankee legend, Frank Crosetti, will be immortalized by serving as the Seattle Pilots third base coach.

Cubs

The Cubs Elvin Tappe and Lou Klein were part of the ill-fated “College of Coaches” experiment the Cubs implemented from ’61-’65. Tappe was “head coach” on three occasions. Klein was the last head coach in ‘65 before Wrigley brought in Leo Durocher to serve as solo manager.

Orioles

“Tall” Paul Richards apparently loved having Luman Harris around. Here he is as one of Richards’ coaches in Baltimore. When Paul took over as GM of the expansion Colt .45s in ’62, Lum came along to Houston and would eventually replace Harry Craft as manager. As Atlanta GM in ’68, Richards hired Harris to be Braves skipper.

Champs Celebrate

Topps gave Dodgers pitching coach, Joe Becker, some serious exposure in ’60. Not only is he on the coach card, but Joe is shown being dowsed with beer on the World Series celebration card.

Cardinals

Two skippers in waiting — Johnny Keane and Harry “The Hat” Walker — are found on the Cardinals coaches card. Of course, Keane will take the reins of the Red Birds and lead them to the ’64 championship. Walker will guide the Pirates and Astros with mixed results.

Indians

The Indians card features future Hall-of-Famer, Bob Lemon. He will manage the Royals, White Sox and, most famously, the ’78 World Champion Yankees. Also, the card has PCL and Seattle Rainiers legend Jo Jo White, who will serve as the Tribe’s interim manager for exactly one game in ’60.

Senators

1960 is the last year of the original American League Washington Senators before they depart for Minnesota. Coach Sam Mele will head to the mid-west with the club and eventually supplant Cookie Lavagetto as Twins manager. Sam will win the AL pennant in ’65.

Red Sox

I will leave you with a look at the Red Sox coaches simply because of Sal Maglie. The “Barber” will direct the hill staff of the ’67 “Impossible Dream” team and be remembered for advising his Seattle Pilots hurlers to “smoke ‘em inside.”

By my count, 19 of the coaches featured on the 16 cards would go on to manage or had managed at least one game in the majors.

 

My Orange Whale in Wally World

69 Bunker

Since I first laid eyes on the 1969 Wally Bunker card, I’ve been mystified by the large, orange object in the background. The blurred image is cylindric with something protruding from the top. Was it a type of promotion, contest or an advertisement?

I have not spent the last 50 years obsessing over this photo, but I’ve never let go of my “orange whale” either. I contacted the Babe Ruth SABR Chapter in Baltimore to see if they knew the story behind the object. No one could shed light on the mystery but some suggested the photo was probably taken in Miami during spring training — it was not. The historian at the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore was clueless as well. I emailed the Orioles historian and sent a “tweet” to Jim Palmer but didn’t receive replies.

Furthermore, I “pecked” through the “Bird Seed” notes section in “The Sporting News” weekly Orioles columns in’64 and ’65 without finding a single mention of the object. I had similar luck with the “Baltimore Sun” and “Baltimore Evening Sun” archives.

McNally 66

Memorial S

My quest did highlight one of my favorite aspects of vintage cards: determining the location of the photos. Evidence points to Wally’s photo being taken at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in ‘65. A Topps photographer did a photo session before a game between the Orioles and the Senators — as evidenced by the numerous ’66 cards with the stadium as the back drop. Memorial Stadium had several visual features (large support pillars, trees beyond the outfield fence, deck configuration and scoreboard) that are evident in the photos.

66 Palmer

The year is confirmed by the presence of Jim Palmer. His rookie card appears in ’66 and he didn’t play for the Orioles prior to ‘65.

Both the ’66 and ’67 Bunker cards appear to be from this photo session, which increases the probability that the ’69 card is as well. Additionally, the soft, early evening lighting present in all the photos adds further credence to my supposition.

There are at least ten Senators and six Orioles ’66 cards taken on the same day in Baltimore. Ironically, Woodie Held was on the Senators when the photo was taken in ‘65, but was traded to the Orioles in off season. The ’66 and ’67 Frank Howard cards — as well as the ’67 poster — are also probably at Memorial Stadium.

Please respond if you can identify the “oatmeal box” shaped object. I don’t want to go to my grave with this highly profound and important mystery as my last thought.

 

 

 

 

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera (Part 2)

kaat

The 1962 Topps parade of men with goofy expressions and inept airbrushing is too vast for one post. Like Jim Kaat, you are probably thinking: “what the fu## is going on here?” Unperturbed, I plunge ahead with a look at more of the “curling bills” posted on the wood grain paneling.

chacon

Poor Elio Chacon was plucked off the defending NL champion roster by the Mets in the expansion draft. Topps crack airbrush specialist attempted to change his red sleeves to Mets blue by adding blue paint. This results in one green sleeve. The fact that the great Frank Robinson is in the background rendered the whole charade moot anyway.

Craig

Based on his wry smile, Roger Craig probably came up with the phrase “hum baby,” just as this shot was snapped.

The editors couldn’t decide whether Lee Walls had a “good side,” so they went with both left and right gazes.

Tebbetts

Birdie Tebbetts appears to be saying: “Hold it, what happened to my uniform lettering?

Gernert  

Dick Gernert’s age was calculated in dog years. In his ten-year career to this point, Dick aged from 20 to 65. This happened to many players who toiled for the Red Sox in the ‘50s.

koplitz

The oldest rookie in Major League history was Howie Koplitz. The only thing the 70-year old lost more of than teeth was games.

chiti

Harry Chiti is not amused as a fan loudly pronounces his name as “shitty” for the umpteenth time.

The second-year LA Angels needed their own “uni-browed” player to compete with the Dodgers beloved Wally Moon. Ken Hunt fit the bill.

minoso

In a case of complete shock, Minnie Minoso discovers that he is now in the NL with St. Louis.

woodeshick

Without comment, I leave you with Hal Woodeschick.

 

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera (Part 1)

Every Topps set from the ‘50s to the ‘70s is filled with questionable photo selections.  Many of the photos are so bad that one wonders if the editors selected them as an inside joke. More likely, the cost of film and processing meant photographers needed to conserve shots, resulting in a limited selection. Another explanation could simply be that baseball cards were for kids to collect and not thought of as works of art. In any case, the result is many memorable, quirky photos that will never again be part of the hobby.

1962 is loaded with “head shots,” due partly to the need to depict players on the expansion Mets and Colt .45’s. Channeling my inner Allen Funt, I will use this set to take a two-part look at some cardboard from the year of my birth.

Mantle

Apparently, the early ‘60s photographers decided that “head shots” would be more interesting if the players weren’t looking directly at the camera. This artistic approach worked spectacularly well in the case of this iconic Mickey Mantle pose (which is used on the ’68 game card as well).

62 craft

This concept didn’t work so well when the subject failed to grasp the need to turn the head, not just the eyes. Harry Craft, manager of the newly minted Colt ‘45s, appears not quite grasp the concept in this shot taken while coaching for the Cubs.

Ashburn

Future Hall-of-Fame inductee, Richie Ashburn, was already suffering the indignity of joining the ’62 Mets when Topps piled on with this beauty.

“Paranoia strikes deep” in the minds of Don Lee and Sam Jones. Apparently, something might be gaining on them.

Don Cardwell and Dick Stigman decided that somnambulism is the way to go for the most photogenic effect.

A bad hair day for George Whit and John Anderson was no impediment for the photographer.

The great Rocky Colavito and Bob Oldis appear to be experiencing confusion or angst. Perhaps “Trader” Lane walked by.

Existential sadness or clinical depression grips Barry Latman and Tracy Stallard. Latman is undoubtedly melancholy over having to play in Cleveland, while Stallard’s sadness stems from having recurring dreams of some guy with a crew cut and the number 61.

Thomas

Since the prospect of part-two is probably generating great anger in some of you, I’ll close with the pent- up rage of George Thomas bubbling to the surface.

 

 

 

 

Name Game

Whether intentional or not, my blog posts tend to bring down the intellectual level of discourse to disturbing depths. Continuing in this vein, I present a “cardcentric” look at players whose first and last names rhyme.

67 Schaal green bat  70 Schaal back

The seed for this idea was planted after receiving a Royals team-issued, 1969 photo of Paul Schaal, part of a recent card swap. Schaal has some interesting cards, starting with his ’67 “green” variation. Apparently, a printing error coupled with poor quality control led to Topps issue some cards with a “greenish” cast. In Paul’s case, the tip of the bat is green. The back of his ’70 card features a cartoon showing a player being beaned. Topps seemed to find humor in Schaal having sustained a skull fracture in ‘68. You will find him “in action” in ’71, ’72 and ’74.

70 Tovar   73 Tovar

Cesar Tovar is another rhyming name with a few unique cards. His ’70 photo appears to show his glove with a hole in the webbing. Perhaps his anguished expression resulted from this discovery. After starting–primarily in outfield–for the Twins from ’66-’72, Cesar was dealt to the Phillies in ’73. This resulted in one of the ineptest airbrush jobs of the era. Of course, I must mention that he played all nine positions in a game in ’68.

Lu Blue 1

This spectacular 1922 American Caramel E120 card of first “sacker” Lu Blue was distributed with candy. Lu was a serviceable starter for the Tigers, Browns and White Sox from ’21-’32.

Batts

Although not quite a perfect rhyme, Matt Batts must be included even if it is just to show this gorgeous ’55 Bowmen.

Parnell 53

One of the premier hurlers of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, Mel Parnell is featured on several classic ‘50s cards. On this ’53 Bowman Color, Mel strikes a unique pose with the glove hanging from his wrist.

Green

Some lucky kid probably cut this ’62 Post Cereal card of Gene Green off a box of Grape Nuts.

Sherry

1959 World Series Hero Larry Sherry probably needed the windbreaker in this ’62, considering the photo was taken at Candlestick Park.

braun

Being paired on the ’65 Braves Rookie Stars card with the Alomar family patriarch, Sandy, didn’t bring any luck to John Braun. He pitched in one MLB game for the Braves posting two innings, allowing two hits and recording a strike out.

Hahn

Quick. Who was the original Expos centerfielder in their first ever game (played at New York’s Shea Stadium) in 1969? The answer: Don Hahn, of course. After starting the first three games in New York and getting but one hit, Don was benched and eventually sent to the minors for the rest of the year.

Charboneau

Who can forget one of the most celebrated flops in baseball history? “Super” Joe Charboneau was AL Rookie of the Year for the Indians in ’80 and out of baseball by ’84.

Clark

A “rhymer” of more resent vintage is ’90s journeyman pitcher Mark Clark. No relation to the WWII general of the same name, I assume.

macdonald

I will conclude this “drive through” look at poetically named players by presenting Mets farmhand, Ronald MacDonald. This ’80 card shows him on the AAA Tidewater Tides, which was his highwater mark in baseball. Alas, “Big Mac” “clowned around” in the minors for six years, never to see his dream of crossing under the “golden arches” and into the big leagues come to fruition.

I will create a list on SABR Encyclopedia so additional rhyming names can be added.   I’m certain this will prove to be an invaluable resource for scholarly research.