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“When ole Diz was

out there pitching, it was more than just another ball game. It was a regular three-ring circus, and everybody was wide awake and enjoying being alive.”

That’s for you and me. They think we’re stars. But in a little while one of us is gonna be a bum.” Dean went back to the pitcher’s mound and promptly struck out the batter. “Well, it ain’t me,” he hollered, as he walked off the field.

On another occasion, Dean got into

a dispute with an umpire. The umpire just turned and walked away from the fuming Dean. Furious, Dean took his bag of chewing tobacco and tapped the umpire on the head with it. “Seems like you could pay me the courtesy of answering me,” Dean said. “I did, Diz,” the umpire replied. “I shook my head.” “Oh, no, you didn’t, neither,” Dean snarled. “If you had, I’d aheard somethin’ rattle.” The umpire tossed Dean out of the game. The fans loved the show. Dean, however, wasn’t so happy when he was later fined $100 (more than $900 in today’s dollars). In another odd occurrence involving an umpire, which took place in Kansas

Baseball Card Errors and Pranks

u These baseball cards have been carefully preserved in plastic holders, a common practice used by avid baseball card owners to protect their priceless collections.

ASEBALL CARDS have been around for decades and are collected by youngsters and adults alike. Each card has a picture of a player on one side and a capsule summary of his career on the back. The cards are usually accurate—but not always. For instance, a card issued by the Fleer trading-card company in 1982 featuring Cleveland Indians pitcher Len Barker’s perfect game of May 15, 1981, depicts Barker with catcher Bo Diaz on the front; the back honors the men’s accomplishment. There is only one problem with the card: Bo Diaz wasn’t the catcher for that historic game. Ron Hassey was.


It’s not always the publisher’s fault when something goes wrong with a card, though. Sometimes, the publishers are duped by the players. For example, for a 1959 Topps baseball card, Lew Burdette, a right-handed pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves, borrowed a left-handed teammate’s glove and posed in a left-handed pitching posture. (While Topps can’t be blamed for Burdette’s prank, they are guilty of misspelling his name. Instead of “Lew,” the company spelled it “Lou.”)

The award for what may be the biggest deception ever practiced on a trading-card company by a player, however, goes to California Angels outfielder Gary Pettis. For the 1985 Topps card honoring him, Pettis supplied Topps with a picture not of himself but of his fourteen-year-old brother, Lynn, dressed in an Angels uniform. —RB

l Jay Hanna

“Dizzy” Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals was a favorite of the fans. Dean is shown here winding up for a pitch at the Cardinal’s training camp in Florida in 1938.

l Baseball cards help connect fans to their favorite teams and players. Pictured reviewing their baseball card collection in the summer of 1965 with Robert Trupathy (right) are brothers Mike (center) and Paul Arms.





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