Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown has a Possee

A while back POBC did a piece on the 1961 Fleer set. It's a great alternative to ponying up the cash necessary for the pre-war stars.

I scored this a few months ago when I was at Daddy D's house.
I think he saw me absolutely drooling over this and threw it to me out of pity. Either that or he's trying to get on my good side and stay out of a home when he's older. Works for me!

The cool thing about this card is that it's a portrait of the young ballplayer as an old man. I can't afford an original of Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown from the t206 set, but this is a great substitute. Frankly, there aren't enough cards of ball players as old men unless they are managers or coaches. I'm as guilty of it as anyone, but it's easy to forget that these guys lived another 40+ years after their careers were over.

I forget if it was in one of the Bender books I read this summer, or the very good Brown bio I read, but one of the them spoke about how players have only recently had obviously post-baseball options. I mean, if one forewent an education to be a ballplayer, what else does one can do for a living besides play ball?

Brown played in the "minor leagues" long after he had "retired," coached and mentored younger players (as did Bender) and owned a gas station among other things. He jumped the the Federal League (like Bender) which derailed his career for a while.

But what do old ball players do, and by old I mean after 40 (an age I see on my own horizon)? I imagine it's tough to have an early period in your life essentially define you and overshadow everything else you ever do for most folks. I understand why people continued to play for money, but I also understand why people continue to play long after they are a shadow of themselves and why they transition to coaching new players who, in some way, have stepped from their shadow. What else would an old ball player do, other than play ball?

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