Friday, November 7, 2014
no. 347 - ted uhlaender
Who is the man: Ted Uhlaender had completed his first season with the Indians in 1970, after being traded from the Twins in a big six-player deal that sent Graig Nettles to the Indians and Luis Tiant to the Twins.
Can ya dig it: That does not appear to be an actual bat that Uhlaender has in his hands. Some sort of weighted, on-deck deal, I'm guessing.
Right on: Uhlaender is wearing a chaw in his cheek, which he is also featuring on some of his other cards, most notably his 1968 Topps card, which was one of the first '68s I ever saw ("what weird names players had back then," I remember thinking).
You see that cat Uhlaender is a bad mother: Uhlaender hit .283 in 1968. That was good enough for FIFTH in the American League that year. In 2014, .283 in the AL would get you 44th place. So that story I read last year about how much the offense was struggling is bunk.
Shut your mouth: Uhlaender was a catcher growing up. After getting to the majors, he was able to convince some the people back home in Texas that he was still a catcher. "We're close to the Mexican border and our newspapers are always early editions so they don't have boxscores," he told the Sporting News.
No one understands him but his woman: Uhlaender's daughter, Katie, is an Olympian in skeleton. She finished fourth in the Sochi Olympics last winter. Uhlaender's death in 2009 shattered, then inspired Katie. She wears her father's NLCS championship ring from the 1972 Reds around her neck, and I admit I get choked up when I see her talk baseball (she knows her stuff) and her father.
(A word about the back): That write-up is practically in a foreign language. "NA Class AAA-West" and "loops" all over the place.