Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vintage Fridays: Andy Etchebarren, 1968 Topps #204

I'm currently re-reading Jim Bouton's excellent book, Ball Four. I couldn't help but laugh out loud when the former pitcher described a favorite bullpen time-waster: choosing an all-ugly team. An excerpt:

"Some famous all-uglies are Danny Napoleon ("He'd be ugly even if he was white," Curt Flood once said of him); Don Mossi, the big-eared relief ace on the all-ugly nine (he looked like a cab going down the street with its doors open); and Andy Etchebarren, who took over as catcher from Yogi Berra when the famed Yankee receiver was retired to the all-ugly hall of fame."

If you clicked the links above, I'm sure you'll agree that Don Mossi is a historical, legendary kind of ugly. He truly looks like something that sprung to life in Jim Henson's Creature Shop. It's worth noting that a young Andy Etchebarren nearly faced Mossi in the ninth inning of a late-season game in 1965, but manager Hank Bauer lifted him in favor of pinch-hitter Dick Brown. Mossi retired at the end of the season, leaving generations of fans to dream of the aborted showdown between the Godzilla and Mothra of Ugly.

You can't help but think that ol' Etch made things harder on himself by refusing to do something about that unibrow. Even if he didn't have the self-awareness to realize it was a problem, didn't he have a friend, a significant other, a sibling, or even a barber to say, "Hey, let's get that taken care of"? Then again, judging from the prodigous chest hair trying to escape from the neck of his jersey, as well as the dense thicket on his forearms, it may have been more trouble than it was worth.

As frightening as it is, I think Andy has actually gotten better-looking in his old age. That is to say, he's aged more gracefully than his all-ugly predecessor behind the plate, Yogi Berra. At least Etch doesn't resemble a shriveled old gnome...yet, anyway.

Who do you think is the ugliest player in the game today? Hometown hero Jay Gibbons certainly has a strong case, as does Cincinnati's own Thing That Goes Bump In the Night, Aaron Harang. But for my money, I'd have to go with Pirates pitcher Tom Gorzelanny, who must be a big fan of The Goonies.


dayf said...

Don Mossi is so ugly, he's beautiful.

There aren't a whole lot of clock stoppers in the game today, but in terms of both talent and ugly, I'll go with Harang. He's kinda like an intense Boris Karloff. And nobody knows who he is, so he continues to rack up tons of K's and wins for my fantasy teams.

William said...

But Don Mossi has a great personality!

Joe said...

He's got a little Adam Corolla in him

rastronomicals said...

I'd simply like to nominate Julian Tavarez for the relief pitcher slot on your All-Ugly Team.