Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Catchers Finding Jesus: Bob Rodgers

Catching is tough. Between calling pitches, getting punched in the face by Carlos Zambrano, run over by Elliot Johnson, and being the closest guy to the taunts of the fans, it makes sense that catchers are also the most likely to have a religious experience during a game. I know that Boog Powell finding Jesus in 1975 is one of the all-time highlights of cardboard collecting, but we can't forget the catchers.

Funny Topps lists him as "Bob" instead of "Buck" if only, as others have recently pointed out, Topps had no qualms about listed other guys as Zorro. Certainly, as "Buck Rodgers" he would have kept up the intersection between baseball and ass-kicking fictional TV heroes from that era. As "Bob" he's more likely to drive a Schwann's truck.

Not only did Bob, or Buck, finish 24th in the '62 MVP voting, he also finished 2nd on the '62 AL ROY voting to the immortal Tom Tresh. As his '62 Topps makes clear, this was due primarily to his in-game visions of the Virgin Mary, who not only told him what pitches to call but also what pitches were coming when he was at the plate. If only we were all so lucky. Not only would we have all been better ball players (as opposed to people who blog about cards of ball players), but existential questions would have been moot, thus making life less uncertain albeit also less interesting.

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!


  1. Winner. Always great to see someone else who appreciates catcher cards...and catchers having epiphanys on cards (how to you pluralize epiphany?!)

  2. Epiphanii? Great post Paul! I have one in the wings about Bob/Buck from the '64 set... Great post!

  3. As much as it's against my nature, I have to side with Topps on the Bob/Buck Rodgers choice.

    Baseball Reference refers to:
    Buck Rodgers
    Bucky Brandon
    Mudcat Grant
    Catfish Hunter
    Blue Moon Odom
    Boog Powell
    Tug McGraw
    Whitey Ford
    Yogi Berra

    But somewhat inconsistently, they also have:
    Bill Skowron (not Moose)
    Ken Harrelson (not Hawk)
    Rich Gossage (not Goose)

    The only players on this list that I recall were always referred to by their nickname were Ford, Berra, Powell, McGraw, and maybe Skowron & Hunter.

    It seems like all the others should be referred to officially (i.e. by Baseball-Reference and their baseball cards) by their real names.

    I mean, the next thing we'll see is in-print references to Pops Stargell and Pudge Rodriguez!