Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Base(ball) Oddity #35: Fashion Police

"Our so-called leaders speak, with words they try to jail you. They subjugate the meek, but it's the rhetoric of failure." Spirits in the Material World/ The Police

English rock/new-wave/post-punk/reggae-rock band The Police released a studio album every year, save one (1982), from the release of their debut album (Outlandos d'Amour) in 1978 until their 1983 swan song. That's not to say they rested on their laurels in '82- they spent the year touring after releasing Ghost in the Machine in October of 1981.

The day after the band played the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, completing the third leg of the North American portion of the Ghost in the Machine tour, the New York Yankees ended their relationship with back-up first baseman Bob Watson by trading him to the Atlanta Braves for minor league pitcher Scott Patterson. The relationship wouldn't be completely severed, however, as Watson would one day return to the Bronx as GM, overseeing the Yankees 1996 World Championship- the team's first since 1978.

As far as his time in Atlanta, Watson finished out his playing career there- spending his final three seasons in the south before his retirement following the 1984 season. Bob's primary role with the Braves was as Chris Chambliss's back-up at first base, as well as a right-handed bat off the bench.

And though Watson had a solid career in the majors, he might be best known for his role as Major League Baseball's Vice President of Rules and On-Field Operations and the 'Francona Rule' he devised to ensure that former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona wear his uniform top under the pullover he was famous for wearing (Francona suffers from circulation issues). Francona had met with Czar Watson just hours before the August 29, 2007 Yankees/Red Sox game to show the Veep that he was in compliance with the rule. Francona was then summoned by a security agent into the dugout tunnel during the middle of that evening's game to again show compliance with the code. The manager was (understandably) upset and gave one of Bob's boys a piece of his mind. 

Troubled Evolution (of a Ball Player)

Drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 1975 amateur draft, Larry Whisenton possessed tools that scouts dream of: power, speed, and the ability to hit for a high average. Unfortunately those tools didn't translate to success as a starter at the major league level. Whisenton spent part of five seasons in Atlanta and only had more than 40 at-bats once- coming in 1982, his final major league season- when he came to the plate 168 times. In 116 major league games, Larry only started in 38, with most of his other appearances coming as a pinch hitter.

These two cards were the last ones needed to complete my 1982 Braves Police team set. I had been searching for them for some time- with no success, until I found them recently on eBay. 

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