Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Base(ball) Oddity #30: Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers

"If you see me walkin' down the line, with my favorite honkey tonk in mind. Well I'll be here around supper time, with my can of dinner and bunch of fine. Beer drinkers and hell raisers, yeah. Uh-huh-baby don't you want to come with me." ~ ZZ Top's Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers

I'm not much of a beer drinker, but when I do have an adult beverage, it's either a Blue Moon, a Corona or Sam Adams. During my high school years, however, our choice was Coors Light. I guess it must have been the best tasting beer we could find at the time. It certainly wasn't because of price point; there were many less expensive choices for our underage palates. While I no longer care for the Silver Bullet, I do care about today's card- which I picked up recently for about the price of a bottle of the brew.

Released in 1994, the Colorado Silver Bullets promo cards featured nine cards and were available with the purchase of a twelve-pack of Coors. Like the Niekro card, each piece of cardboard featured one of the brewing company's brands (Original Coors, Coors Light, Coors Cutter, Coors Extra Gold, and Coors Dry) in either a gold or silver foil-stamp in the top left corner.

Card backs are simple: Black and white with career highlights and, for the ladies, vitals such as height, weight, birth place, home, etc. 

Viewed by some as a ground-breaking opportunity for women to enter the world of professional baseball, while others, such as New York Times columnist Barbara Walder, saw it as merely as stunt that hindered women's quest to compete at the highest levels of sports, the Silver Bullets fielded a team from 1994 until 1997- when Coors decided to pull the plug on sponsorship.

Things didn't start out too well for the lady barnstormers, who began their first season playing against a team made up of Northern League All-Stars. After a 19-0 shellacking, former big-league pitcher Dennis 'Oil Can' Boyd had this to say about his opponents: "They could give a good high school team a hard time." Not exactly what ownership and management wanted to hear.

After canceling the rest of their scheduled games against Northern League opponents, the Silver Bullets played a schedule made up of semi-pro and amateur teams as well as a couple of Class-A short-season teams from the Pioneer League.

Hell Raisers

The Bullet's final season saw perhaps the most memorable moment in team history, in a most "unfortunate situation."

During their June 11th game against the Americus Travelers, state champions in the Georgia 18-and-under league, outfielder Kim Braatz-Voisard, having just been hit by a pitch, decided she could live with being hit- but not with being laughed at by the teenage boy whose pitch had just drilled her in the back. And so she charged the mound, setting off a brawl between adult women and teen-aged boys. No word if any charges were filed.

Prior to the plunking, Voisard had told Americus catcher Jonathan Crumbliss, who had been mouthing off all game, "to be quiet and play the game." The next pitch from Greg Dominy hit Voisard and the rest, as they say, is history.

Knucksie had this to say about the melee: "As good a baseball brawl as I've ever seen. All havoc broke loose."

That wasn't my favorite quote about the incident.  Mark Lastinger, a reporter for the Albany Herald, said that Braatz-Voisard was on Dominy "like a cat on a pork chop."



  1. I interviewed Niekro that year when the Silver Bullets came to town! I didn't know those cards existed, I should find some.

    1. There were also team sets created for at least of the seasons. I don't know the means of distribution, other than they were available in their team catalog. Probably at the ball parks, like other minor league team sets.