|Whether playing first, behind the plate on in|
the outfield, Fred Carroll looked the part.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, Washington, D.C.
Baseball franchises soon learned they could do the same, from ads placed on walls within stadiums to, eventually, naming the stadiums themselves. Major League Baseball, as an entity, gathered sponsors and advertisers of its own. The advent of radio and television brought on a whole new realm of possibilities.
Changing social mores have driven advertising partnerships. Players who behave badly lose ad deals. Advertisers pushing products that fall out of favor with the American public lose their deals. There's a precise balance that must be found for the marriage to work.
By 1957, for instance, the propensity of beer ads had driven one organization to a re-characterization of what it felt the sport of baseball should be, a true reflection of the American ideal.
"Baseball has become beerball," said Mrs. Glenn G. Hays, president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in the papers of July 3, 1957. She fired the shot as a "broadside blast aimed at radio and television sponsors and major league club owners," said the San Francisco Examiner.
"What was once the national pastime now appears to have become the star salesman of the beer barons, while club owners, hungry for revenue, wonder why public interest and patronage have declined," she said. "Baseball is being taken from a wholesome spectator and sandlot sport into the realm of a national problem that includes alcoholism and drink-caused juvenile delinquency.
"Beercasts of the game try to convince any one who hears or sees them, that it's the right thing to do to sit in front of the set and get drunk while viewing or listening. Children who love baseball are obviously not excluded from the wheedling commercials that urge listeners to rush to the liquor store or icebox for the sponsor's beer between every inning or half inning."
As if to make her point, directly below the column the Examiner ran an ad for Cutty Sark Blended Scots Whisky.
Say what you will, but Jose Canseco was a standout in his time.
We have three starters, without a winning record among them, but, as we know, that can be deceptive, Chuck Stobbs (107-130, 4.29) wouldn't have pitched for 15 years if he had no talent. Steve Sparks (59-76, 4.88) was one of only nine true knuckleballers in the twentieth century, and thank goodness the world has gone digital, as he once separated his shoulder trying to rip a phone book in half. We have no idea who he was trying to call. Joe Magrane (57-67, 3.81) is our third starter. Former Yankee and Met Hal Reniff (45 SV) us our closer, supported by Brett Cecil (12 SV), Pete Burnside, Caleb Ferguson, Jerad Eickhoff and Pat McGehee, the first Tulane University graduate to ever put on a major league uniform.
Canseco (.266, 462 HR, 1407 RBI, 200 SB) won't make the Hall of Fame, but he certainly had his share, and then some. Betcha he could have ripped a phone book in half. He's joined in the outfield by Tony Armas (.252, 251, 815) and Angel Pagan (.280, 64, 414, 176 SB), giving us an all Latino outfield simply based on statistics of players born on this day. Very cool. It means, unfortunately, that some other good players, like Nyjer Morgan and So Taguchi, take backup spots. "The Mayor" Sean Casey (.302, 130, 735) ably holds down first base, with an infield that includes Greg Dobbs (.261, 46, 274) at third, Gil English (.245, 8, 90) at short and Frank Thompson (.170, 0, 5) at second. Fred Carroll (.284, 27, 366, 137 SB) will catch, with support from Hal Wagner.
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Stolen Bases: Jose Canseco, 200.