If someone should ask you what Leonard Garcia and Lynn Pettis have in common, you can tell them that both have their pictures on Topps baseball cards wearing the uniform of the Angels although neither ever played for the team.
In 1969, Garcia was a batboy for the Angels. Aurelio Rodriguez was the third baseman. When Topps came to shoot pictures, Rodriguez thought it would be good fun to have Garcia pose for him. Garcia did, and nobody was the wiser until the conspirators confessed.
This year, it was Gary Pettis who hoodwinked Topps. USA Today reveals that the man you see on the card is not Gary but his 16-year-old brother, Lynn.
“It’s one of those practical jokes ballplayers have been playing for years,” said Norman Liss, a spokesman for Topps.
He recalled that former Milwaukee Brave pitcher Lew Burdette, a right-hander, posed as a left-hander in 1959. Then there was the pose of Billy Martin as the manager of the Detroit Tigers in 1972.
Said USA Today: “Leaning against a bat with his left hand, Martin apparently overlooked the position of his middle finger.”
Trivia Time: Name the only active pitcher in baseball who has beaten all 26 teams in the major leagues. Hint: He started his career with the Dodgers. (Answer below.)
Wait a Minute: After sitting down Dick Schofield for his .194 batting average, Angel Manager Gene Mauch said: “Years ago I saw a lot of weak-hitting shortstops stay in the lineup, but back then, a weak-hitting shortstop used to be .245, .255. You don’t look back and see any shortstop who held his job hitting .200.
In 1969, Bobby Wine hit exactly .200 and held his job as the Montreal shortstop. The same year, Tommy Dean hit .176 for San Diego and Dal Maxvill hit .175 for St. Louis.
Wine’s manager, incidentally, was Gene Mauch.
Walking away from the press conference that followed his upset of Mats Wilander at Wimbledon, Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslovia was joined by his brother, who said, “What kind of questions did they ask you?”
“Mostly,” Zivojinovic said, “they asked me how to pronounce my name.”
Trivia Answer: Doyle Alexander of the Toronto Blue Jays. He broke in with the Dodgers in 1971. He has since pitched for Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco before joining the Blue Jays.
Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, accepting the NBA Most Valuable Player trophy sponsored by Allstate Insurance: “The way I was shooting the ball in the championship series, I must have owned a piece of the rock.”