Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Classic card of the week


Alvin Dark, 1993 Ted Williams Card Company Collection

This week we return to the well that is “The Ted Williams Card Company” collection, in which Ted Williams himself –- or, more likely, someone other than Ted Williams –- selects a handful of old-timey baseball players and creates new baseball cards for them so that we, the baseball-card-buying public, can fantasize about what it would be like to have an actual card of one of these guys from their playing days, instead of something that is worth four cents.

Today we feature Alvin Dark. Back of the card, holla atcha boy:



While most managers come from the ranks of major-league players, not many have careers as successful as Alvin Dark’s.

I have major problems with this sentence. This card is from 1993. I’m certain that many of the young baseball fans who came across this card had no idea who Alvin Dark was, much less that he was also a manager who last managed a game in 1977. This sentence assumes that it is common knowledge that Alvin Dark was a major league manager. There is no other mention of his managerial career on the back of the card, which leaves the onlooker more confused about Alvin Dark than before, when he or she did not even know that Alvin Dark ever existed.

Also, this sentence implies that few players go on to have managerial careers as successful as Alvin Dark’s, which is not, I think, true, or, more importantly, the point. Here is how an informative sentence about Alvin Dark would read if a moron did not write it:

While most managers –- did I mention that Alvin Dark was a manager? No? Well, he was! -- come from the ranks of major-league players, not many had playing careers as successful as Alvin Dark.

But enough about grammar and sentence structure. Let’s talk about what I assume was Alvin Dark’s nickname and not just a random racial epitaph on the back of a baseball card:

“Blackie”

Yikes. Many of you may recall the racial undertones of previous Ted Williams Card Company features. Here we are informed that a man named Alvin Dark was nicknamed “Blackie.” It’s hard for me to believe that this was not a playfully derogatory nickname given to him based on his surname. Which begs the question: Why mention this? Like, ever? Seriously…”Blackie?” You're going to bring that one back in 1993 for another generation of kids? Bad times all around.

Wikipedia –- while acknowledging this nickname –- mentions that Alvin Dark was also know as “The Swamp Fox.” That’s pretty cool…why not use that one instead here? Especially considering that (if you read on in the Wiki link) Dark himself apparently made some suspect racial comments in his day.

Well...poor sentence structure and racism make this arguably the unfunniest Classic Card ever featured here. For that, I apologize. In an effort to correct that, and to make light of an otherwise very offensive nickname, I hereby direct you to an old SNL skit featuring Michael Jordan as "Blackie"...which I could not find the link for. Enjoy nothing!

Did you know?

Ted Williams' original desired list of players to be featured in his personal collection included "Stocky" McDougal, "Clam Hands" Johnson, "Kidney Stone" Hannigan, and "Racist" Larry, who was an equipment manager for the Red Sox in the 1940's.

3 comments:

Don said...

I love the fact that if you google "michael jordan blackie" nothing from SNL comes up - but your post does. Too funny.

Keep fighting that good fight against racist baseball nicknames on obscure baseball cards of obscure racist and base ballers.

mkenny59 said...

I swear that skit is real. He played for an all-white team in the 40's or something and Phil Hartman was the coach. I can't believe the video isn't out there somewhere...

Although I, too, love the fact that this post comes up when you google that. I love even more that you took the time to google "michael jordan blackie." You are a loyal friend.

Don said...

given the rare opportunity to do so - how could you not Google that?