Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

Badass Beards – Mike Beard*

5 Nov
1976 Topps - Mike Beard

1976 Topps – Mike Beard

Come on man.  Your name is Mike Beard.  It was the mid-70’s and you couldn’t just humour the world by growing a little facial hair?  Maybe something like this?  It’s just so disappointing, nay, wasteful.  The Atlanta Braves drafted you twice, and they’re still waiting for the beard.  Just put the razor down.  Earn it.

* – does not have a real beard, just a wildly misleading name.

Names I Can’t Believe Aren’t Famous – Charlie Spikes

10 Dec
1981 Fleer - Charlie Spikes

1981 Fleer – Charlie Spikes

With a name like Charlie Spikes, having a nickname as a professional baseball player seems rather redundant.  However, Charlie Spikes had a great nickname to go along with his natural nickname – the “Bogalusa Bomber,” because of his hometown of Bogalusa, Louisiana and his alleged ability to hit home runs.  Despite seasons of 23 and 22 home runs in 1973 and 1974, Spikes never lived up to the expectations that surrounded him, and fizzled out of baseball by 1980.  However, in terms of great baseball names, he is Hall of Fame in my books.

Badass Beards – Al Hrabosky

13 Feb

1981 Donruss - Al Hrabosky

Look at this beard: thick, dark, and completely contradictory to the long, hot Atlanta summer.

Al Hrabosky, the “Mad Hungarian,” now does colour commentary for Cardinals games – well, some of them, anyway.  He has a website that I think was designed by someone who was reasonably good with the Internet in 1996.  It doesn’t tell you anything, but hey, it’s there.

He also at least lent his name to Al Hrabosky’s Ballpark Saloon, but the restaurant’s website doesn’t work anymore, so I’m not sure if it’s still there.  Anyone from St. Louis care to enlighten me?

If the Saloon is still there, you can leave that beard hair in my burger, thank you very much.  It might make me a bit tougher, and I don’t care how weird that sounds.

Brothers from Another Mother – Greg(g) Olson

26 Oct

1991 Donruss - Gregg Olson

1991 Donruss - Greg Olson

Back in the early 1990’s, and on 1991 Donruss, there were two Greg Olsons in the Major Leagues.  One was named Greg Olson.  He was a catcher.  The other was named Gregg Olson, and he was a pitcher.

How we know they’re different people:

Gregg Olson, after growing up in Scribner, Nebraska, pitched for 10 teams between 1988 and 2001, recording 217 career saves, including a few prolific years in Baltimore between 1989 and 1993.

Greg Olson grew up in Minnesota, went to High School in Minnesota, went to University in Minnesota, and then debuted in the Major Leagues with Minnesota, even after having been drafted by the New York Mets seven years earlier.  He stlll might not know where Nebraska is.

Also, one is named Greg and one is named Gregg.  Pay attention.

How we’re not sure they’re different people because we’ve never seen them in the same room together:

Greg Olson caught 81 games for the 1993 Atlanta Braves.  Seamlessly, Gregg Olson pitched in 16 games for the 1994 Atlanta Braves.  They were never on the Atlanta Braves roster at the same time, but somehow they ended up in Atlanta in back to back seasons.  Hmmmm…

Hope this is clear for you and you won’t be wondering which of your 1991 Greg(g) Olson cards is more valuable.  HINT: neither one is.

Everyday Normal Guys – Sid Bream

10 Oct

1992 Donruss - Sid Bream

Sid Bream seemed like a pretty decent, normal dude when he played in the Majors.  He didn’t look like any kind of super athlete.  He had a mustache.  He was slow… you know, like, Molina slow.  He was from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, population 17,970.

However, “ask any Braves fan — they can tell you where they were when Sid slid.” By scoring that sliding, winning run in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, he may also be responsible for a curse upon his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played six seasons.  That I’m not sure about, but, sometimes everyday normal guys get stuck with these curses too (see Bartman, Steve), when all they want to be is “SAFE! SAFE AT THE PLATE!” for their team. (NOTE: scroll down to the “safe” sound clip on that last link, I’m too dumb to link to it properly).

Brothers From Another Mother – Randy Johnson

28 Aug

1985 Topps - Randy Johnson

1991 Topps - Randy Johnson

Apparently there were two Randy Johnsons that played in the Major Leagues in the 1980’s.  The first one to crack an MLB roster was Randall Glenn Johnson, who played a total of 204 games with the Atlanta Braves from 1982-1984.

The second had a bit more success, as Randall David Johnson won 303 games with six teams, including the dirty, awful Yankees, striking out 4875 total batters.

How we know they’re different people:

The Randy Johnson who achieved utility player status with the Atlanta Braves is listed at 6 feet 1 inch tall.  The Randy Johnson who broke in with the Expos and achieved fame and fortune with the Seattle Mariners is 6 feet 10 inches tall.  This made him the tallest Major Leaguer in history until Jon Rauch took his talents to the South Side of Chicago.  You can tell how tall he is based on the photograph on his 1991 Topps card.  The photographer was obviously much shorter, or maybe just creepy.

How we’re not sure they’re different people because we’ve never seen them in the same room together:

Both are from California and played the latter parts of their careers in Phoenix (Randall Glenn with the old Phoenix Firebirds of the PCL, and Randall David with the Arizona Diamondbacks, in both the purple and post-purple eras).  They also both had mustaches.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Confusion alleviated?  No big deal.

Badass Beards – Jeff Reardon

7 Aug

1988 Topps - Jeff Reardon

Here at Sorting by Teams I pay a lot of attention to the mustache… and for good reason.  The mustache is an incredible thing, even though some people who have them shouldn’t be allowed near schools.

However, the beard is an often overlooked feature that deserves recognition of its own.  Hence, today’s new category, Badass Beards.

One of the best Badass Beards in history was Jeff Reardon.  I remember him during the 1992 World Series while playing for the Braves, talking about giving up the game winning hit to Candy Maldonado: “People say why’d you throw him another curveball?  Well, I threw him another curveball because he looked sick on the first two.”  I thought he might rip the reporter’s head off.

He looked that day like he did on 1988 Topps.  Angry.  Bearded.  Badass.

Out of Place – Ernie Whitt

20 Jun

1990 Bowman - Ernie Whitt

With this week’s interleague Toronto-Atlanta series, I want to point out that Ernie Whitt looks out of place with the Atlanta Braves, with whom he appeared on 1990 Bowman.  Ernie Whitt actually belongs in Canada.

Whitt was a key member of the Toronto Blue Jays throughout the 1980’s as they built themselves into one of the best organizations in baseball.  He became an advocate and supporter of Canadian baseball, and eventually, he actually ended up becoming a Canadian citizen.  He also managed the Canadian National Team for several years, and was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Take that, Atlanta.

Names I Can’t Believe Aren’t Famous – Biff Pocoroba

5 Apr

1983 Topps - Biff Pocoroba

This is a tough-sounding name.  I almost think he’s going to come up to me and say “what are you looking at, butthead?” Or, maybe he’ll fire a “why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here?”

And you never know, maybe George McFly will knock him out with one punch in the parking lot during the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.  Even better, he could drive into a manure truck again.

Those are Back to the Future references.  His name is Biff, like Biff Tannen.  Try to keep up.

Everyday Normal Guys – Jim Acker

7 Feb

1991 Topps - Jim Acker

Hey – a new category!  This one is designed to help us celebrate the ordinary.  The category is named after a great tune from Jon Lajoie – if you don’t know who Jon Lajoie is, please learn and then come back.  And then, while you’re at it, check out his show The League on the FX Network.  It’s fucking unreal, easily one of the best shows on TV.

Let’s also keep in mind, that while I am referring to these gentlemen as Everyday Normal Guys, they also became professional athletes, so be sure you keep that context in mind when you’re e-mailing me to ask me who the fuck I think I am.


An Everyday Normal Guy named Jim Acker.

Why is he ordinary?:

-A sub-.500 career record (33-49)
-Occasional starter, occasional closer, never great at either
-Played in Atlanta between 1986 and 1989.  The Atlanta Braves were not good then.  They’ve been good since, but not then.
-Is from Freer, Texas.  Where?  Exactly.
-Check out that everyman beard.

What could potentially separate him from the ordinary?

-Won the AL East title with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985.  Was then traded to Atlanta midway through 1986, and the Jays didn’t win another division crown until he returned in 1989.  That included an epic collapse in September 1987, and performances below expectation in 1986 and 1988.  Was it a curse?  We may never know.

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