Saturday, October 3, 2015

Base(ball) Oddity #40: Superstation Supercards

As if I needed another reason to reminisce, a recent tweet from @BravesHistory got me...reminiscing.

The tweet read, "Even the rain delays were fun...Andy Griffith, Sanford & Son, and This Week in Baseball" and had followed another one that had declared, "Braves on TBS was great. It felt natural. Fox loves scripted storylines and talking points. Back then, it was baseball, Skip, Pete & Ernie." The context of all of this was an "OTD" in 2007 tweet from @BravesHistory, when TBS had aired it's final Braves telecast- ending a 30-year relationship with the Braves franchise.

While I didn't have the pleasure of watching the Braves telecasts during the 70s (as painful as it might have been), I did get the opportunity to watch these guys during the 80s and 90s. And even when the team stunk, the three announcers provided fans an excuse to tune in.

You had Skip Caray (pictured in the middle), Harry's son & Chip's father, whose sharp wit, acerbic style and off-color jokes put him in a class all by himself. In his memoir, "Of Mikes and Men", broadcast partner Pete Van Wieren notes 'brash, cynical, and impatien' as words that were used to describe Skip. And yet, he was loved by the fans.

Van Wieren (pictured on the right) was known as the professor. He brought a great deal of baseball knowledge to the crew (hence, his nickname). Fans, and colleagues, were amazed at the information he could pull from his brain. Remember, this was long before the information we have at our access today.

Finally, there was the veteran of the trio, Ernie Johnson (pictured on the left). Ernie had pitched for the Braves in the fifties and and returned to the organization in 1960 to work as the PR director until entering the broadcast booth in 1962. Known for his 'folkiness', Ernie was the optimist and was like that beloved uncle. In fact, the crew used to refer to him as Uncle Ernie. Johnson is also the man who is regarded as the founder of the Braves Radio Network- which, at over 150 affiliates, is the largest sports radio network in professional sports.

As much as I'd like to have those 'good old days' back, there's something I desire perhaps even more.

As you can see by the description from the Standard Catalog, this set is quite rare. I have searched online for years and have never seen any listed, let alone anything at all about them. While I wouldn't refuse any of them, I would most certainly like to obtain the Murphy card. At this point, it seems like an impossible wish. But that's what makes collecting so fun- that thrill of the chase.


  1. So cool, didn't know about this set. I'll never forget thier voices growing up.

  2. Ugh, another Bruce Sutter oddball for my PC....