I was mildly surprised when I received this Fred Talbot card from Don. I've read Jim Bouton's Ball Four cover-to-cover twice, and I always pictured Talbot as being a more hirsute, gruff-looking kind of guy. You know, someone along the lines of Paul Shuey or Sparky Lyle. It hadn't even occurred to me that mustaches were verboten in baseball until Charlie Finley's 1970s A's. Sometimes your own perceptions run wild, you know?
-Despite being born in Washington, D.C., Fred was fortunate enough not to be signed by the Senators. Instead, the White Sox inked him to his first pro contract in 1958.
-His second big-league win came sixteen days later and was a bit more impressive. He manuevered his way around ten Boston baserunners to whitewash the Red Sox, 2-0.
-Tied with Rollie Sheldon for the A's team lead with 10 wins in 1965. At 59-103, the club was beyond lousy. Hawk Harrelson (66 RBI) was their leading run producer.
-Had a small part in an American-League-record-tying 29-inning doubleheader on August 29, 1967. The Red Sox won the first game in the standard nine, beating the host Yankees 2-1. In the bottom of the 20th inning of the nightcap, John Kennedy singled with one out and took second when Jim Bouton (more on him later) was hit by a pitch. Talbot pinch-ran for Bouton but was not needed for long; the next batter was Horace Clarke, who singled home Kennedy with the winning run!
-Hit two home runs while with the Pilots, doubling his career total. One of those Seattle longballs was a grand slam that won $27,000 for Mr. Donald Dubois of Gladstone, OR courtesy of the Pilots' Home Run for the Money promotion. This laid the groundwork for the aforementioned prank, in which Bouton sent a phony telegram from "Dubois" offering Talbot $5,000 of the prize as a sign of gratitude.
-Left baseball in 1970 with a lifetime record of 38-56 and went into construction. He's been retired since 1996 and lives in Falls Church, VA. I've been there. It's an unremarkable place, but they've got a Long John Silver's. Mmm.