“Campy” Campaneris proves that so called reality isn’t always truth.

campy psychedelicWhen people try to figure out what to believe and explain why they do, they don’t spend much time thinking about the fundamental nature of truth, knowledge, or reality. As Shakespeare said, ‘there’s nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’. Truth is difficult to define because as soon as you think you have it pinned down, some case or counterexample immediately shows deficiencies.

Bert “Campy” Campaneris is largely heralded in the baseball community for being the first player in modern baseball history to play all 9 positions in one game on September 8th, 1965. The feat was admired so much that comedian Will Ferrell even tried his own bombastic and barely funny version in Spring Training last year.

Now here’s where things get tricky: if Campaneris hadn’t “achieved” this feat the Athletics would have won the game that they eventually lost 5-4 in 13 innings. One run scored when Campy dropped a fly ball in right field, another scored when he pitched the 8th inning, and yet another scored when the smallish (5’10, 160) player was crashed into at the plate leading to another run and the D.L. for 5 days. If this accomplished anything in my mind it certainly wasn’t admiration from a baseball standpoint. It begs the questions: What is real? What is true? And is the reality of the world different from how we perceive and experience it in our minds?

Baseball cards that make you go…”hmmmmm.”

monday50 Years Ago Yesterday . . .
Major League Baseball holds its first Free Agent Amateur Draft (now known as the First Year Player Draft). The very first overall #1 pick was Rick Monday from Arizona State University by the Kansas City Athletics.

We all know what happened with Rick. He became an All Star, (on 2 occasions) and a fan favorite with the Cubs and the Dodgers. With the latter team he achieved baseball  immortality by grabbing the American flag from two rabble-rousers trying to burn it in right field at Dodger Stadium. (I think our fore-fathers would have found the act amusing considering the modern day economic and civil rights breakdown of this once great country) and he is now an even-keeled announcer for the Dodgers when Ol’ Vinny needs a break between the 4th and 6th.

In my humble opinion he does a fairly good job–I find his voice soothing and boring enough with just a pith of telephone operator and 50’s television dad to fall asleep too on a hot Los Angeles day during an Indian summer. Complete with lemonade, a little bit of hooch, the lawnmowers blaring, the smell of grass and the parrots in my neighborhood playing screwball and scaring the crows, and it usually turns out to be a fine day for me. (the parrots are an anomaly of themselves; the locals tell me that a pet store burned down ten years ago and they’ve been here ever since.)

But, what ever happened to Tony Pierce?

Well, Tony used a baseball bat to fend off his daughter-in-law as she repeatedly stabbed him with a pair of scissors in his Columbus, Ohio home on Oct. 27th, 2010. Tony claimed she once called him “God” for two days and on one occasion crawled into bed with him.

tony_pierce_autograph

I dare you to find a baseball card where Tony doesn’t look completely DESTROYED mentally; all of his cards seem as if he sees his destiny, and wants this mortal coil to end.

Laura Pierce, 32, admitted stabbing her father-in-law in a detailed bizarre confrontation, saying she arrived at his home unannounced, left her purse by the door and put his 130-pound Rottweiler in the bathroom before assaulting him as he sat on his couch.

“I thought something was wrong with her,” he said. “It’s like a fairy tale. She’s jabbing at me, saying, ‘I have to die, you’ve got to die.’ I saw it in her eyes. She meant it, too.”

She stabbed him several times in the chest as they struggled. Eventually he was able to grab the scissors in one hand and her head in another. Scanning the room for some way to ward her off, he saw a baseball bat.

He’d decided by then that either he or his daughter-in-law had to die, he said. As he reached for the bat, she stabbed him in the back.

He hit her with half a swing of the bat.

“I was trying to hit her in the head,” he said. “I mean, this was for real. The whole thing is just hard to believe.”

She went out to his front yard, screaming that she was bipolar and schizophrenic. She was still there when police arrived.

Mr. Pierce died in 2013 at the age of 67.

Random facts about a player hardly anyone remembers.

1967 Topps Jack Sanford

“Smiling Jack”

Jack Sanford ended his career with 137 wins in 1967–a number that everyone agrees would constitute a successful run in the big leagues. 

A darker side of Sanford’s personality also grabbed headlines during and after his baseball career, which wound down with the California Angels and Kansas City Athletics following arm and shoulder troubles.

After Sanford made a World Series appearance, a 1963 Sportmagazine article titled “Jack Sanford’s Grim World” laid bare the pitcher’s on- and off-the-field demeanor, all the while acknowledging his pitching skills. The author wrote that “Jack Sanford is a man of many moods, mostly bad” and that “Smiling Jack Sanford is a blue-eyed blond, somewhat less adorable than Shirley Temple. His blue eyes are hard and cold, shielded by heavy brows, and he squints around them… His jaw is hinged, his face flexible, and he twists it into various expressions, most of them forbidding, defiant, scowling. He saves his smiles for his friends, and he doesn’t make friends easily.” He was nicknamed “Smiling Jack” because he was usually scowling, and he was also nervous and irritable.

Another report, in a golf book, described Sanford as bloodying his own head from whacking himself with golf clubs after particularly bad shots.

In 1954, he was suspended for ten games after refusing to give the ball to his manager as he was being removed from a game.

 Sanford’s son John acknowledged that his dad was known for his explosive temper: “He always said that’s what helped an average kid from Wellesley to make it in the bigs. He carried it over to the golf course, where it wasn’t beneficial, but we didn’t see much of it at home.” Sanford’s daughter Laura added: “As to my dad’s so-called temper, he demanded so much from himself and was frustrated when he failed. Less than a perfect performance on his part was not sufficient; he was very competitive.”
Sanford died in 2000 at the age of 70 from brain cancer. R.I.P. Jack.