Thursday, April 10, 2014

no. 281 - danny walton

Who is the man: Danny Walton enjoyed the most productive season of his sporadic major league career in 1970, hitting 17 home runs in 117 games as a rookie. But he also struck out 126 times. He'd be dealt to the Yankees in June of 1971.

Can ya dig it: That scuffed-up helmet without a logo makes another appearance on a Danny Walton card. He's featured wearing the helmet in a head shot on his 1973 Topps card, probably a photo from the same session (my guess is that he's actually wearing a Seattle Pilots helmet).

Right on: I believe the Pilots ... er, Brewers are holding infield drills behind Walton. I can only hope Mr. Coach is holding a fungo bat.

You see this cat Walton is a bad mother: Walton was the 1969 Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year. Playing for Oklahoma City, he hit .332 with 25 home runs and 119 runs batted in.

Shut your mouth: Walton has just four Topps cards, even though his major league career started in 1968 and ended in 1980 (he was sent down to the minors at least seven separate times). The interesting thing to me is that on those cards, he is not wearing a legitimate cap with a logo in any of them. In 1970, he is not wearing a cap. In 1971 and 1973, he has the logo-less helmet I already mentioned. In 1978, he is wearing a clearly airbrushed Astros helmet (it's my theory that Walton is actually wearing an Albuquerque Dukes uniform and helmet, as he played for the Dodgers Triple A team in 1976 and 1977).

No one understands him but his woman: Walton tore up his knee during the 1970 season and never fully recovered, ruining a promising career in which he had his own fan club in the Brewers' left field bleachers.

 (A word about the back): That is pretty close to the photo that's on Walton's 1973 card. The only differences are that Walton has his mouth open in this photo and that someone airbrushed an "M" onto his helmet.


  1. I didn't realize there cards with guys in Pilots uniforms in the '71 set. And here I thought my "Ball Four" all-time Pilots card collection was complete.

    1. I'm just speculating. The 1970 Brewers and 1969 Pilots uniforms were so similar that it's difficult to tell. The fact that Walton is "hiding" his uniform front made me a bit suspicious. But there are other '71 Brewers cards in the same stadium in which you can see "Brewers" on the front of their uniform.

    2. Bear in mind the history of the Brewers. The franchise changed cities on April 1, 1970 when Pilots were declared bankrupt. It was 6 days before the start of the season. The 1970 spring training they played as the Pilots. Equipment trucks were in Provo Utah waiting for word to go West or East. New uniforms could not be made in time so all Pilots gear had to be used. I live the Milwaukee area and once I will find Pilots memorabilia that was purchased in the Brewers first year. Ironic in a sense because Atlanta Braves memorabilia was sold in the last year of the Milwaukee Braves in 1965. Kinda of slap in the face of the city.

    3. I once read that the newly minted Brewers, as Douglas says above, hastily had the logos on their unis hastily restitched. Owner Bud Selig wanted to red and navy blue to be the team colors, but his hand was forced given the extremely tight deadline. I've heard that some of the stitching wasn't done very well and that the shadow of the original Pilots name was still visible on some of the unis after the Brewers name was substituted. I tried to find a good photo example, but couldn't locate one. You make an excellent point about the batting helmet. It also makes me wonder if it was airbrushed by Topps? Anyway, I am fascinated by the Pilots' short and troubled history (if one season is enough to call "history"). :)

  2. His '73 looks like it was taken in a different stadium with the same helmet. There is an '84 Renata Galasso Pilots card of him showing him what appears to be an actual non-airbrushed cap. Interesting that Topps went 0 for 4 on that.

  3. He's definitely wearing a Pilots helmet. Look really closely and you can see the outline of the "S" airbrushed over.