St. Louis Brown Don Gutteridge Shocked Over 1944 Play Ball Card

Posted June 30th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Don Gutteridge, Jim Bouton, St. Louis Browns

I’ve just read the eye-opening Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession

This is more history of the card INDUSTRY than I ever imagined.  The book is not a love letter to card makers.  Readers will recoil over some early behaviors of Bowman and Topps. For instance, Jim Bouton shares how he felt a Topps exec bullied minor leaguers into signing away their exclusive card appearance rights for a $5 retainer. Bouton didn’t bite, insisting his father should review the contract first.

Instead of interviewing card company officials, I’d rather know more about how it felt to be a face on those cards. When I wrote to former St. Louis Brown Don Gutteridge in 2000 about his 1944 “Play Ball” card, I got a surprising letter in return:

“I do not even remember giving anyone permission to use my name on a card. In fact, I did not see the 1944 (Play Ball) card until a few years ago (in the 1990s) when someone sent me the card and asked me to please sign it for them. The company never contacted me. In fact, I would like to have a couple of those cards for my own mementos. I think it’s very nice to have your picture and data on a card. It is so nice to be remembered.”

Touring Ebbets Field With Brooklyn Dodgers GM Emil “Buzzie” Bavasi

Posted June 29th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Buzzie Bavasi, Ebbets Field, Fred Fitzsimmons

I’ve been to Brooklyn Ebbets Field.

In my imagination, at least.

I found that so many former Dodgers couldn’t describe the whole ballpark. They might remember superfan Hilda Chester or the ad signs, but that was it. Ex-players often limit themselves to outfield dimensions.

That’s why I sought out former general manager Emil “Buzzie” Bavasi. Here’s what he recalled about Brooklyn’s baseball landmark:

“The rotunda really wasn’t very much. A large dome entrance to the stadium with six ticket windows operating daily.

We had no offices at Ebbets Field. Our offices were on Montague Street just opposite City Hall.

Players usually drove cars to the ballpark. Usually shared rides with each other. We had a special parking lot for the players. However, the subway station wasn’t more than a 150 feet from the ballpark.

The best thing about Ebbets Field was the fanatical fans and the Dodger “Symphoney” band made up of five ticket holders.

The clubhouses were both no more than fifty feet from the field.

Fred Fitzsimmons, former Giant pitcher and later a Dodger, owned and operated a bowling alley across the street from Ebbets Field. Was a meeting place for many after the games.

Good to hear from you.

‘Buzzie’ Bavasi”

I offer my sincere thanks to the awe-inspiring www.Ebbets-Field.com for the image. Stop by to get more of what “Buzzie” was remembering.

Touring Ebbets Field With Brooklyn Dodgers GM Emil "Buzzie" Bavasi

Posted June 29th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Buzzie Bavasi, Ebbets Field, Fred Fitzsimmons

I’ve been to Brooklyn Ebbets Field.

In my imagination, at least.

I found that so many former Dodgers couldn’t describe the whole ballpark. They might remember superfan Hilda Chester or the ad signs, but that was it. Ex-players often limit themselves to outfield dimensions.

That’s why I sought out former general manager Emil “Buzzie” Bavasi. Here’s what he recalled about Brooklyn’s baseball landmark:

“The rotunda really wasn’t very much. A large dome entrance to the stadium with six ticket windows operating daily.

We had no offices at Ebbets Field. Our offices were on Montague Street just opposite City Hall.

Players usually drove cars to the ballpark. Usually shared rides with each other. We had a special parking lot for the players. However, the subway station wasn’t more than a 150 feet from the ballpark.

The best thing about Ebbets Field was the fanatical fans and the Dodger “Symphoney” band made up of five ticket holders.

The clubhouses were both no more than fifty feet from the field.

Fred Fitzsimmons, former Giant pitcher and later a Dodger, owned and operated a bowling alley across the street from Ebbets Field. Was a meeting place for many after the games.

Good to hear from you.

‘Buzzie’ Bavasi”

I offer my sincere thanks to the awe-inspiring www.Ebbets-Field.com for the image. Stop by to get more of what “Buzzie” was remembering.