The Quest for the 1960 Topps Set, Part XXIX
September 30th, 2011 by slangon

Today is a small step in the Quest for the 1960 Topps Set. Just one card.

#349 Moe Drabowsky

Myron Walter Drabowsky played for 8 teams over the course of his 17 year career. He spent time in Chicago with both the Cubs and the White Sox, in Milwaukee with the Bravos, in Kansas City with both the A’s and the the Royals (one of only 4 players to have done so), in Cincinnati with the Reds, in Baltimore with the Orioles and in St. Louis with the Cardinals. He was 88-105 lifetime with a 3.71 ERA and 55 saves.

He was born in Ozanna, Poland, and according to legendary Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko,¬†“is still considered the best pitcher that Ozanna, Poland, ever produced.” He immigrated to the United States when he was 3 and grew up in Connecticut.

Although Moe’s career numbers do not dramatically jump out, he was a fairly successful relief pitcher in his time. During Game 1 of the 1966 World Series, while pitching for the Orioles, he struck out 11 batters, including 6 in a row. The 11 whiffs is the World Series record for most punchouts by a reliever. The 6 in a row tied the record for most consecutive by a reliever in a World Series game. Moe won the first game in Kansas City Royals history, as well.

He also holds a couple of more dubious distinctions. On May 13, 1958, while still a starter for the Cubs, Moe gave up Stan Musial’s 3000th hit, a run scoring double. Interestingly, Musial was in the game as a pinch hitter. Moe was also the losing pitcher in Early Wynn’s 300th Career Win on July 13, 1963. Drabowski was pitching for the Athletics at the time. The Indians won 7-4.

Aside from his exploits on the diamond, Moe was also pretty notorious as a clubhouse prankster. Here are some nuggets dug out of his comedy goldmine.

On April 24, 1957, Drabowsky was hit on the toe by a pitch from Cincinnati’s Joe Nuxhall. When home plate ump Stan Landes wouldn’t give him the free base, Moe’s teammate Dick Drott borrowed a wheelchair from a crippled fan and wheeled Drabowsky to first. Drott was ejected from the game. Moe took the loss.

The hotfoot was one of his specialties. During the Orioles 1970 World Series celebration, he even gave Commissioner Bowie Kuhn a hotfoot. He snuck a book of matches under Kuhn’s shoe, ran a 40 foot trail of lighter fluid back to the trainers room, lit the fluid and watched the fun.

Between the 1965 and 1966 seasons, Moe was moved from the A’s to the Orioles. During a game against Kansas City in 1966, since he happened to know the number to the A’s bullpen, he called impersonating A’s manager Al Dark and demanded reliever¬†Lew Krausse get ready to pitch. That caused a lot of confusion for A’s starter Jim Nash, who was throwing a shutout at the time.

He apparently gave The Baltimore Sun’s beat writer Jim Elliot so many hotfoots (hotfeet?) that Jim got into the habit of looking down at his shoes while interviewing Moe. Drabowski adapted by sticking lit matches on the writer’s notebook that he was holding.

Before a 1998 Orioles Old-Timers Game, Moe snuck up behind the Orioles mascot and covered his hat with shaving cream.

Other favorite gags of Moe’s included putting goldfish in the visiting team’s water cooler, putting sneezing powder in their air conditioning ducts, putting live snakes and mice in teammate’s shaving kits, ordering chinese food and pizza deliveries from the bullpen phone and sending rookie sports writers on searches for “left-handed bats”.

Sort of makes me wish there were still guys like this playing today.

One Response to “The Quest for the 1960 Topps Set, Part XXIX”

  1. I had heard of some of the shenanigans that he was involved in but some of these gags were new to me. I believe he has a nice display at the Maryland Sports Museum (located behind Center Field at Camden Yards.

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