Senator Carl Bouldin Vetoed Pro Basketball

How Does It Feel To
Be a Floating Head?
Plus, How Do You
NOT Autograph Your Face?

Carl Bouldin just wanted to play. Play what, though?

Bouldin started for the University of Cincinnati Wildcats basketball team. After the 1961 National Championship, he surprised hoops fans by choosing baseball. He advanced to the majors quickly. The glory was short-lived, enduring consecutive cellar-dwelling seasons for the Washington Senators.


“I had offers to play basketball for three teams in the following three years, but I just thought my chances of a longer career was in baseball. It turned out to be not so long though, because I hurt my arm (rotator cuff) in winter ball in Puerto Rico. I was on the same team with Tommy John there.”

Did Bouldin get a taste of quaint Griffith Stadium? He recalled:

“When I was called up in 1961, I went to Griffith Stadium. I didn’t pitch there, because they moved to D.C. Stadium shortly after I got there. The stadium was cool. But my memories of the players that I had read about are/were more clear.”

Just across the river from Cincy, boyhood home of the hurler, the Kentucky Baseball blog had some nice things to remember about Bouldin.

Tomorrow: Bouldin reveals his best game ever.

Comeback Coach Chuck Hartenstein Helped Pitcher Bob ‘Whirlybird’ Walk Fly Again

His autograph is
more compact these days!

Perhaps, pitcher Chuck Hartenstein registered some of his biggest victories after his playing career.

He remembered:

“With Cleveland, Rick Wise and Sid Monge had career years. It was all in the handling of them. They made a lot of money from that year.

In 1987, I coached at Milwaukee. Again, several guys had career years. Dave Duncan in 1988 with Oakland beat us out of the best ERA for a staff by the third decimal point.

My best accomplishment was Bob Walk with the Pirates. He had bounced around and was very inconsistent. I taught him how to change speeds and get hitters out. He got another 6-7 years in Big Leagues because of that!

Good luck with your collection!

Chuck Hartenstein”

Tomorrow: Looking back with Washington Senators pitcher Carl Bouldin

Cub Billy Williams, Hall of Fame Nicknamer? Just Ask Pitcher Chuck ‘Twiggy’ Hartenstein!


 Pitcher Chuck Hartenstein seems like an inspiration to all those “before” guys like me, the guys in the Charles Atlas comic book advertisements who got sand kicked on them. However, Hartenstein got two kinds of “sand” kicked on him in his pursuit to be a major leaguer.

First, he shared his christening as a Cub:

“Billy Williams with Cubs gave me the nickname ‘Twiggy’ in 1967. I weighed 145 to 150 lbs. I loved it. Everyone referred to me as ‘Twiggy.'”

Come to think of it, he does look a bit like a smiling thumb on his 1968 Topps card! I’ve seen a couple of press “head and shoulders” shots of Hartenstein. It looks as if his tiny self was pasted atop a larger uniform. “Twiggy” never towered over opposing hitters. Instead, emotional muscle kept this pitcher pitching.

The other “sand” Hartenstein faced came after his 1970 struggles with Pittsburgh. He explained…

“I had a bad career in 1970. I was banished to AAA for those years! Two with Tucson (Chicago White Sox), two with Phoenix (Giants) and two with Hawaii and Roy Hartsfield. We won two PCL championships at Hawaii in 1975 and ’76. He took me with him to Toronto!

It was quite a thrill to get back. After my playing days, he wanted me to be their minor league pitching coordinator! I did that at the end of the season in 1977 and emerged as a Major League pitching coach with Cleveland in 1979.”

Tomorrow: Hartenstein rates his successes as a pitching coach.

My Hobby Motto: What Would Ted Williams Do?

As I revised my “autograph collecting” goals one year ago, I thought about The Williams Shift.

Starting with the Cleveland Indians and player-manager Lou Boudreau, fielders bunched to the right side of the diamond for the king of pull hitters. Foes offered Ted Williams a tempting consolation prize. Plunk a single down the third base line. Lay down a bunt. Give up your power and get a base.

I don’t have a 100 percent success rate asking questions by mail. I guess that in the past year I’ve struck a nerve with a few retirees. I’ve asked a few hard questions about their frustrations, even their failures. Sometimes, I think ex-players choose the recycling bin instead of reliving what might not be a rosy memory. Possibly, they aren’t willing to relive any of their career, beyond looking at cards of their younger selves.

When I read about successes posted on, I’ve been taken down a notch to see that some retirees who’ve sidestepped answering my questions are returning autographed cards elsewhere in two weeks or less. That could be me, too. If I’d change my game plan.

But “The Splendid Splinter” wasn’t always that. He struck out 709 times. Likewise, I’ll keep swinging for the fences. Every letter mailed may not produce baseball gold. That’s okay. I’m ready for more one or two-page replies. I’m finding baseball storytellers who’ll turn back time for me. They do more than answer trivia questions. They describe what it felt like to be a major leaguer, painting pictures with words.

If you see me wearing one of those rubber bracelets, my abbreviation would read: WWTWD.

Is Baseball Spring Training Like TV’s SURVIVOR?

New CBS Series:
Survivor: Baseball?

 What does it feel like to be a part of spring training?

On one hand, it’s a vacation. Florida. Arizona. A paid trip.

Yet, it’s no summer camp. Other players want your bunk space. Or, your prize money. Or, your job. Some athletes might like to vote other players off the island.

Here’s another puzzler for me.

I think the movie Bull Durham isn’t as fictional as many movies. How many minor leaguers are happy when SOMEONE ELSE gets the call-up, the promotion?

Those are two questions I’ll be including in my spring mailings to former players.

Readers: what questions should we be asking former players?

Tomorrow: How Ted Williams influenced my autograph collecting.

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