Monday, September 13, 2010

Double Play Starter?

This is a great action shot.

Card #42 - Mike Andrews, Chicago White Sox

While sidestepping a sliding runner, Andrews is preparing to throw to first for a possible double play. However, the runner's number poses a question...who is that? Andrews is wearing a White Sox road jersey. With his opponent sporting pinstripes and a dark helmet, you'd think he was playing against the Yankees but there's a problem: the 1972 Yankees didn't have anybody who wore #33. Andrews was also on the Chisox in 1971, but the Yankees didn't have a player who wore #33 that year either. However, the Indians wore pinstripes on their home uniforms in '71, which would make the runner Rick Austin. Unfortunately, Austin never played against the White Sox at all in the '71 season. Besides, the runner's helmet looks more blue than the Indians' black hats of '71. Unless the photo was taken in a Spring Training game against the Yankees, I'm at a loss for identifying the runner.

Mike Andrews was probably best known as a member of the beloved 1967 Boston Red Sox team. '67 was Andrews's first full season and he would remain with Boston until 1970, when he and Luis Alvarado were forced to trade their Red Sox for White in exchange for Luis Aparicio. 1973 would be Andrews's final season. He was released by the White Sox midway through the year and signed with Oakland. During the '73 World Series he would be forced by owner Charlie Finley to sign an affidavit saying he was disabled after making two errors that contributed to the team's loss in Game 2. After pressure from his teammates, manager and the press, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn overturned the document and he was allowed to play Game 4. However, he grounded out as a pinch hitter and sat the rest of the Series. It would be his final major league appearance.

In 1984, Andrews became chairman of The Jimmy Fund, a charity that raises funds and awareness of children's cancer that is closely tied with the Red Sox players. He holds that position today.


  1. To my eyes, that's a blue helmet and no pinstripes, just white. I thought about the Brewers, but #33 in 1971 and 1972 (Marty Pattin and Mike Ferraro) didn't have a play that matched the action.

    My guess is that it's spring training game.

  2. i figured it was bob oliver of the royals

    he wore 33 for the '72 club.

  3. This card was posted a few weeks ago on the white sox card blog. Probably the most mysterious card in card history. I think the key is to look at the field...artifical turf in the outfield. No american league team in 1972 had artifical turf to the outfield. The Royals would in 1973. I don't think topps would take a game picture when the card was due to be out. Possible but it would really go against Topps system of doing things.

    Here is my theory but it's all circumstancial..but I will need back up with a 1972 schedule. It is from an exhibition game against the giants at Candlestick Park which had turf at that time. Other teams (red/card,astro,bucs) with turf had a red/orange/yellow uniforms/helmets. This was not uncommon for the Giants to have one exhibition game midseason during the early 70's (twins in 71). If I went by roster, the runner is pitcher Jim Barr, but if it was an exhibition game who know it could be?

    The possibility of exhibition game exists but I just don't know of spring training facilities that had artifical turf at that time. Turf was still a pretty rare thing.

  4. Don't think it's the Giants - not dark enough. And while at first I thought it was turf later I just thought it was newly mown grass.

    It doesn't check out in 1972 per the game logs that it was KC before Oliver was traded. And it wasn't in 1971 as that didn't check out.

  5. If you'd like to check the picture out on the image and the card will be enlarged.

    The runner seems to have a patch on his left sleeve that isn't clear to me. Perhaps somebody can recognize it.

    Plus...close up, the field certainly looks like turf, rolled out and laid down in place.

  6. Despite the comments above, I think Oliver is still the most likely candidate. There is a stripe around the "cuff" of the short sleeve, and a patch on the left sleeve, both of which were present on Royals uniforms in 1972. The Tigers had neither of these on their home uniforms, so that rules out Lamont.

    I think its definitely artificial turf. A grass infield wouldn't feature the sharp angle that appears just behind Andrews.

  7. I'm retracting my earlier suggestion of the Giants. I was wrong. The team is the Kansas City Royals and Bob Oliver would be correct. The picture most likely was taken during 72 Spring Training at Terry Park in Ft Myers Florida.

    I base this on two pictures. First The 73 card of SS Fred Patek is taken from the same vantage point same type of ballfield and it also shows what looks to be a white sox.
    The other picture is from Sports Illistrated article: showing a posed Mike Schmidt and George Brett at Terry Park in the background. The stadium in the picture show the sharp edges of artifical turf.

  8. I gotta agree, it has to be the royals. are we sure that kc didn't have artificial turf in 1972?

  9. All documentation I know of and personal memory indicates that 1972 was KC's last year at Municipal Stadium, the old home of KC A's. I recall it was natural turf stadium that the stadium was highly praised for it's grass and groundskeeping crew. The same people who were mostly unemployed in 1973.

  10. This was definitely a Spring Training game from '72. Terry Park, the Royals' spring facility, had an Astroturf infield and grass outfield similar to what the White Sox employed at Comiskey in the early '70s. That's Bob Oliver of the Royals sliding into 2nd base

  11. I agree that the Chisox were playing the Royals in this picture. Terry Park had artificial turf during the teams' tenure between 1969-1987. The Royals' home field Municipal Stadium was an all grass facility. I just watched an episode of Woodie's World on ESPN Classic detailing the franchise's move from grass to artificial turf prior to the 1973 season.