Card of the Moment #79
September 22nd, 2011 by slangon

I’m not sure if everybody out there knows this, but the Mets have been tanking pretty hard these last few weeks of the season. I don’t say that I’m not sure that everybody knows this to be ironic or sarcastic. Of course everybody knew it was going to happen. I more say it because they’ve been sucking for so long now that I’m sure that anyone who isn’t an insane, glutton for punishment, die-hard Mets fan has probably stopped paying attention a long time ago and might not be aware of exactly how badly they’ve been playing as of late.

The one bright spot in their performance over the last 3 weeks or so was probably taking 2 out 3 from the Braves in Atlanta. Not only was it refreshing to see them play baseball that was actually a little better than their opponent, it was refreshing to see them win a series at a ballpark that has been historically a house of horrors for them. Turner Field opened in 1997 and since then the Mets have gone 43-82 there. As a matter of fact, if you subtract the games played at Turner Field from the Mets all-time record against the Braves, they’re 255-274 with 1 tie. I know that’s still sub-500, but that’s a far cry from 43-82. Regardless, it was nice to see them win a series there.

Admittedly, and this is the disgruntled, misery-loves-company part of me speaking, it was nice to see the Mets play a bit of spoiler for once, rather than getting all spoiled on by another team. When they started that series in Atlanta, the Braves had a 3.5 game lead in the Wild Card, but when it was over that lead was shorter by 1 game. Now, the Mets have continued their spoiling ways by going into St. Louis and reverting to a bunch of 6 year olds who would’ve gotten cut from the t-ball team if t-ball coaches were actually heartless enough to cut 6 year olds. Now the Braves lead is a slim 1.5 games. All thanks to the Mets. You’re welcome St. Louis.

Of course, I don’t say that to rub it into the Braves. I would’ve much rather watched the Mets crush the Cardinals, thereby inadvertently helping Atlanta. I’m more just saying it to highlight how inconsistent and frustrating it has become to watch this team.

Today’s Card of the Moment is brought to us by the utopian Beer City. And black ovals.

1962 Topps #158 Milwaukee Braves Team Card

One of my favorite things to do when I acquire a new old team card is scan the photograph to try and figure out where all the big name players are sitting. A lot of times it’s way more difficult than you’d think. I’m not positive, but I think that’s Warren Spahn in the first row of guys on the chairs, second from right. I think that might be Hank Aaron in the back row, third from right. I’m sure that’s Eddie Mathews standing right in front of him because you can see his number 41. Other guys who were pretty identifiable by their uniform numbers are Moe Drabowsky (2nd row, 5th from left), Lew Burdette (on a chair, 5th from left), and Felix Mantilla (back row, right).

Out of all those great ball players, the one guy on this card that immediately grabbed my attention was the one guy wearing a suit. That little feller all the way to the left. Thanks to the wonders of the interweb, you can type in the phrase “who is the midget on the 1962 braves team card” and get the answer.

Apparently, that is a gentleman by the name of Donal Davidson, who was the Braves Traveling Secretary and PR Director. Davidson started his affiliation with the Braves when they were still the National League representative in Boston, serving as batboy and general errand boy to such baseball royalty as Casey Stengel and Babe Ruth.

Although he was only 4′ 1″ (his growth was stunted by bouts of sleeping sickness as a child), Davidson didn’t take no guff. During Spring Training one year, the club arrived at a St. Petersburg hotel only to find out that their rooms weren’t ready. After spending a good 20 minutes calling the desk person every name in the book, he marched the entire team out the door, down the block and into another hotel.

He apparently also took his share of ribbing from the players, often times at the hands of clubhouse comedian Warren Spahn. There’s a well traveled story about how he was riding a elevator with Spahn and Lew Burdette. When Warren and Lew got out on their floor, Donald asked if they could hit the button for the 26th floor . They told him to “Press it yourself, you S.O.B.” and left the elevator laughing. Of course Davidson couldn’t reach the button and was forced to ride all the way back down to the lobby and ask someone to press it for him. After that, Don insisted on a lower floor room.

Sometimes, he did get his revenge. There was another time when the six foot Spahn thought it would be hilarious to try on Davidson’s suit jacket, splitting all the seams in the process. Rather than flipping out on the spot, Donald just waited until Warren went out on the field to pitch and took all his clothes, threw them in the shower and turned the water on full blast. Long after the game was over, Spahn was the only one in the clubhouse, waiting for his clothes to finish up in the dryer.

Davidson was fired early in the 1976 season by Turner Field namesake Ted. Apparently, Ted didn’t like the fact that Davidson got a suite for himself and Braves manager Dave Bristol when on the road.

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