Spring Training for the 2015 Major League Baseball season is upon us! So even if you're still sitting under a blanket of snow, you know that relief is on the way. To help you get warmed up and to take an excuse to look at some great vintage sports ephemera, here's a hand-picked gallery slideshow of some of my favorite Spring Training program and scorecard art from teams like the Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels, and Pirates. All of these and more are available for perusal at The Press Room, and clicking on any image will take you to its own page.
I'm sure the context for this ad from the May 4-10 edition of TV Guide's Atlanta edition makes this seem perfectly reasonable. But because I can't resist a good sight gag, let's just enjoy this ad for WWLA's Cracker baseball broadcasts as is. OK, in the spirit of fairness I will mention that Crackers was the name of Atlanta's minor league baseball team, and they were part of the rather successful Southern Association. The league disbanded in 1961, which left Atlanta without a baseball team until the Braves moved from Milwaukee in 1966. As for WLWA-TV (now WXIA) having a sports broadcaster named Bob Boring, I'm not gonna kill that joke with facts.
Here's a great World Series pennant from the days of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It celebrates Brooklyn's win in the 1952 World Series and lists a number of the players and the classic "The Bums" mascot. Click for a larger version. There's only one problem, though -- the Dodgers didn't win the '52 Series. They actually lost in seven games to the New York Yankees, so someone jumped the gun on this pennant a little bit. --- Don’t forget to check out the rest of my Pennant Fever entries.
In the fall of 1949, just four years after the end of World War II, the U.S. and Japan were on their way to rebuilding the bridges that had literally and figuratively been burnt since 1941. One of the first steps on that road to friendship was a goodwill tour bringing American baseball to the Land of the Rising Sun. In October, a man named Lefty O’Doul was responsible for organizing a baseball tour featuring the team he managed at the time -- the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. The tour was a huge hit and contributed at least some small part to Japan's passion for America's pastime. Just one of the many pieces of ephemera from the Seals' Japanese tour is this fantastic game program. Here are a few images from that program, including the gorgeous front and back cover
The other day I shared a gallery of ALCS program covers for this year's teams, the Royals and Orioles. Now it's the National League's turn. Including this season, the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals have combined for 20 NLCS appearances since the format was established in 1969 (including the 1987 season, when the two teams faced each other). The Cards hold the record for most NLCS appearances (13), while the Giants are now tied with the New York Mets with seven. Here is a gallery of selected Giants and Cardinals NLCS game programs through the 1980s, courtesy the Press Room. San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals
The 2014 American League Championship Series kicks off Friday night as the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles face each other in the MLB postseason for the first time. Including this season, the two franchises have combined for 17 ALCS appearances since the format was established in 1969. Only four franchises -- the Tigers, Red Sox, A's, and Yankees -- have appeared in at least as many. Here is a gallery of selected program/scorecard covers for each Royals & Orioles ALCS series up through the '80s, as provided by my latest project, the Press Room. For some reason the Royals programs from 1984 and '85 have eluded me, so if someone can provide a scan please let me know. Baltimore Orioles Kansas City Royals
I was hoping to get this done prior to the start of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, but such is life. Anyway, the title of this post should say it all. Just as I did for the NHL last year, I've devised a super-secret, proprietary system for ranking all current baseball franchises. To see my rankings for other leagues, as well as all my sports lists, check out this page. But before I get to the list of the ten worst MLB teams of all-time, a few notes of explanation are needed. Rankings are based on average points per season, not total points. For the few franchises whose history stretches back to the 19th century (Braves, Cardinals, Reds, etc.), I am only counting seasons played as members of the National League. I am awarding points for a playoff series win for teams that
Holiday Inn - Joplin, Missouri Operated by Mickey Mantle. Mickey is pictured in the Dugout Lounge at the Inn. (original)
There's a lot to love about this Post Sugar Crisp ad from 1955, not the least of which are the classic '50s bear mascots: But what drew my eye was the gaggle of vintage baseball logos on the bottom. They're actually MLB patches Post gave away with the cereal, and the legendary Ted Williams gives his smiling approval. Here's a closeup view of the logos, featuring the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Redlegs, New York Yankees, New York Giants, Milwaukee Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Senators/Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, Brooklyn Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago Cubs. That's every MLB franchise from '55 except for the Kansas City Athletics. (click for a larger version)