Johnny Vander Meer never got one. So now he’s got one. Even if the photo is really from his days with the Reds, I can pretend it’s an Indians jersey, can’t I? The back is the key, and that’s his career line on the back. I don’t like making card backs; it is a very tedious process. Plus I don’t know what Vander Meer’s eye color or hair color was. That stuff ain’t listed on his BBref page.
The Topps TBT set last week celebrated the sluggers who smacked fifty home runs in a season. Well, celebrated six of them, and six that are quite often celebrated by Topps. Forget the guys like George Foster here, who was the only player to go yard fifty times in the entire decade of the 1970s. In fact, between Willie Mays‘ 1965 season and Cecil Fielder‘s 1990 campaign, Foster was the only guy with fifty longballs. And did Topps celebrate him? Of course not. He played for the Reds and his name isn’t Johnny Bench, so he was completely ignored.
But the blogosphere rights Topps’ wrongs. We celebrate the underrated, overlooked, and ignored. So hold your head up high, Mr. Foster. Your 1977 MVP season will never be forgotten by this Reds fan.
By the way, Foster is a ridiculously nice guy. I had the pleasure of meeting him several years ago at the Reds Hall of Fame for an autograph signing, but he was interacting with fans and laughing and appeared to truly appreciate the blessings of being a former big leaguer.
Arnold Carter was a wartime pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in 46 games over two seasons. The left-hander won 11 games in his rookie season in 1944, and his career ERA was 2.72. Since 1921, he is the only pitcher with 100+ innings pitched who hit more home runs (2) than he allowed (1) in a single season.
That’s all pretty cool. What’s cooler? His son is on Twitter, and agreed to share some stories and memories with the readers of the blog about his dad!
Charlie Carter was born when his dad was 46 years old, so he was not around when his dad pitched in the big leagues. But even several years removed from his time in the majors, Arnold Carter still shared some stories with his son.
Charlie remembers seeing photos and the uniform hanging in his dad’s closet. “I didn’t know just how awesome it was until I was much older. When you’re young you don’t appreciate things. You know, he was playing in a coal miners league before being discovered. His career ended early due to black lung.”
Carter attended Wayne High School in West Virginia and signed with the Logan Indians in the Mountain State League after graduation in 1939. All but one team in the Mountain State League were located in West Virginia; Ashland, Kentucky, was the only club in another state. The league existed from 1937-1942 and was shut down due to the war. Carter left the Logan Indians in 1941 when he began playing in the Reds minor league organization in Columbia, South Carolina.
Carter got the call to join the Cincinnati club in 1944 and answered with a fine performance against some pretty big names, including Hall of Famer Stan Musial. “I have an old newspaper article where Stan said he hit my dad a lot but never hard.” In 1944, Stan the Man went 3-for-9, hitting only singles against the 26-year old rookie.
Of course, outside-the-lines antics often make for more interesting stories. Carter told his son that he “was so green being pulled from the mountains and going to the big leagues, and how all the city guys would pull pranks on him. They were always joking with him because he was so green and naïve. Keep in mind he had never been out of the mountains.
“He said one time the guys asked him to go out for pizza and beer. He said sure but was wondering why in the heck anyone would want peaches and beer. He had never heard of pizza before!”
It was clear in my conversation with Charlie that he had a great deal of respect for his parents. He said, “I wanted you to know that men like my dad aren’t around anymore. That generation. He believed in God, he had very high morals, super work ethic, always went to work, wasn’t rich but everything we had he earned. He believed in the golden things like standing behind your word and the truth. If more were like him today it would be such a better place. My mother was special as well and took care of us all. I was fortunate to have them as parents and hope to see them again in the next life.”
It was such a pleasure to communicate with Charlie, and I’m glad he agreed to allow me to share some of his memories with the readers here.
Jack McKeon didn’t like that Dibble cut his uniform sleeve and complained to the umpires. The umps agreed, and Dibble changed into Stan Williams‘ #35 for the rest of the game, shutting out McKeon’s Padres for 2 1/3 innings. I couldn’t find a picture of Dibs wearing #35, but this photo does show how he altered his uniform.
A bit later today. I had some computer frustrations last night and gave up as I was preparing to schedule a post for this morning. Five cards today featuring Ivy/Ivey Wingo, Elmer and Johnny Riddle, Chuck Harmon, Frank Robinson, and one of my all-time favorites, Kurt Stillwell.
The Riddle card got me to Googling “battery brothers,” and I found this link. There were more pitcher/catcher combos on the same team than I would have guessed! The Riddles weren’t even the first for the Reds!