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Remembering Leo Cardenas, The Superstitious One

Monday, April 25, 2011

Twins Card Spotlight: The 1961 Peters Meats Set

Normally, I don't like to go all materialistic.

I'd like to think I've moved away from the instinct of hoarding and never being satisfied with my lot. 

But if a little, old man approached me in the street with a handful of these for free, I wouldn't turn him down. 
(See this Page Link for a description of this set's origins)


As may be inferred, the copy writers for this 1961 Twins set took liberal literary license in their player profiles. The de facto staff ace, "Pete" Ramos here is hung with a nickname that is a pure reflection of a less worrisome time, where using ethnic references from TV shows like "Zorro" were commonplace.  I, for one, have a hard time seeing Pedro arriving in the Twins locker room on the team's very first Opening Day in 1961(Fergus Falls MN Daily Journal April 12, 1961 newspaper pdf link), and announcing "Boys, go right ahead and jump on my back - The Gay Caballero's bringin' it home for ya today!" ( a la Kirby Puckett before Game 6 in 1991). But that's just me.

*Twins 1961 Opening day box score at Baseball Reference

It may be argued that such insertions make this perhaps the most interesting and compelling Twins card set of all time. Pedro did in fact, pitch the new North Star heroes to victory over the mighty Yankees and Whitey Ford that day.  That Pedro served prison time after being caught running contraband over the border should in no way cover up the fact that this bird was, along with Pistol Packin' Dave Boswell, easily the most all-round goofy and interesting character in Twins history. Actually, that would only add to his legend. Maybe the whole mishap could have been avoided if the winner of the first Twins game (Sporting News pdf)* had asserted himself thusly with the border police: "Don't you guys know who I am?"

The Gay Caballero, indeed.
*Page 2 of that same Twins related coverage, 4/19/61 TSN


Just as obvious is the need of the Twins resident Bill Shakespeare to paint Ray "Old Blue" Moore as a character right out of the children's classic "Where The Red Fern Grows." It's rather ambiguous for me, from the folksy "Moore is no stranger to these parts" (what...did he just wander in from an episode of "Gunsmoke"?) to the nebulous meaning of this clause in the final paragraph: "Although a right hander, he is very tough on liking to pitch." Is this in some way equating "Farmer Ray" with left handers of dubious morality, like an ambidextrous Bill "Spaceman" Lee? Or is it an implication that he'd just as soon chuck this baseball thing for a go at a-pickin' and a-grinnin' on the back porch down in old Virginny? 

Fact of the matter, "Old Blue" gave stability and professionalism to the Twins 'pen at a time in its history when it needed it most.  You can put that one in your corncob pipe an' smoke it.

More prettiness:


Would have loved to hear good ol' Herb Carneal describe the pitching of the above two hurlers, from back in the day.
"...And the count rides along."
TT

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