Friday, April 6, 2012

Night Owl, Baseball Cards, Race and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Night Owl Cards has interesting post about the 1981 Drakes baseball set (there is actually 2 interesting posts from him about this set if you click on the link). I have previously stated that I consider Night Owl Cards as the greatest Sports Card Blog of All-Time (of course All-Time means about 3 or 4 years of Blogging history, it remains to be seen if he can hold the Mantle (not Mickey) for the next 100 years). The reason he is the greatest is because he has an innate ability to make you look at your cards in ways you never thought of before (thus rekindling  your joy).

In his post recent post about 1981 Drakes Set (go read it) he mentioned, that Tony Armas was Black (actually Hispanic).

While this post is not going into White Hispanics (that is for another blog), his comment was interesting.

While I was growing watching baseball in the 1970s, Tony Armas was a decent prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates system. He even played a little for the Pirates before becoming a star with the A’s. However, I always considered Tony Armas as a black player and never thought of him as a Hispanic player. Whether it is good or bad every time you see someone walking down a street and see their face your brain automatically, processes the race of that person. The first time I saw Tony Armas, I thought of him as Black and he has always been Black to me. 

Now think of every Baseball Card (or Sports Card that you own) you own, think of any player and you will know the race of that player, instantly.  You just will, your brain has stored it for you.

Look take card 29 in the 1971 Topps set (Don Buford) or card 22 in the 1985 Topps set (Duane Kuiper). I know Buford’s Black and Kuiper’s White. I just know.  I probably could tell you the race of every single baseball player that ever played (except for a few guys in the 50s and 60s who had a cup of coffee). It is something about our brains. There are a few players that confuse my brain like Kris Humphries of the Nets (yeah, the guy that married Kim Kardashian), I can’t say whether he is white black or interracial.

In 1971, there was a big deal made that the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded an all black team for one game (the only time in major league history).  Now I can’t remember the exact lineup but I am pretty sure it contained Stargell-Cash-Hernandez-Pagan-Clemente-Clines-Oliver-Sanguillen-Ellis .  At the time there was no mention that the Pirates fielded a team of 5 Black players and 4 Hispanic players. (Hernandez, Pagan, Clemente, Sanguillen.) Within the last ten years or so, I have seen references that the Pirates at that time fielded the first (and only) All-Minority team, somewhere along  those players became Hispanic and not Black. This is just interesting

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