You’ve heard it a million times, that old rub about life and lemons …
“When life sucks, pull a chair up on the porch, put the ballgame on the radio, and kick back with a cold glass of lemonade.”
Pretty sure that’s how it goes.
Just be aware that the sun won’t always cooperate with your cool-shade plans and might peek at you from under the eave of your porch. Especially during those late afternoon games, or the first half of a twinight doubleheader.
That’s why you need to have a pair of sunglasses with you there as part of your setup, just in case. And if you need some fashion tips on shades, you might want to check out the Major League players in Spring Training.
Those dudes have winter-soft eyes and need protection at every turn, so they’re always flipping dark lenses, changing glasses, shading their eyes.
It’s a rite of spring, which is why I’m looking at dudes on cardboard here on Day 37 of my 2019 Spring Training Baseball Card Challenge.
Luckily, there is no paucity of guys who are willing to flash their fly eyes under dark cover on the cards that have graced our collections forever. Plenty of choices … tough choices … so I just had to pick one and go with it.
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Since I’m a child of the 70s, I’m going with Henry Cruz on his 1976 SSPC card.
Because … dude was fly, what with those curling sideburns, thick mustache, and stylin’ sunglasses.
OK, technically, they’re just glasses since he needed them to see and didn’t like contacts. But they’re dark and have big, black plastic rims. They’re awesome.
And ten years later, I’d have a pair almost just like them, but by that point they weren’t considered awesome anymore. They were “dorky” or some such nonsense. I still have them in a drawer somewhere, and I’ll slip them on every once in awhile in a pinch. My wife calls them my Birth Control Glasses.
For Henry Cruz in the middle 1970s, though, those were the glasses he used to play real live Major League Baseball with the freaking Los Angeles Dodgers. And later on, with the just slightly less freaking Chicago White Sox.
All told, Cruz played in the Majors for four years — two for each of the two teams — and saw action in 171 games. His batting line included eight home runs, 34 RBI, and a .229 lifetime average. Not the stuff of legend, to be sure, but still better than you or I ever did in baseball.
And you know what was the stuff of legend?
That dark-eyed, dark rimmed, pure fly guy look he sported on that SSPC pure card.
And if, for some reason you’re not enamored of that particular pasteboard, you can find Cruz on the small as one of four rookies on card #551 in 1976 Topps, right beside Chet Lemon, and right above Ellis Valentine.
Or if you’re a ChiSox sort of person, that 1978 Topps Cruz card is unbeatable.
So grab a Henry Cruz, a Country Time, and the cat, and get ready for some front porch baseball.
Check out the entire series of 2019 Spring Training Challenge posts here.
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