I needed to take a break from the Update stuff, so I grabbed my '50s Cubs binder. The plan was to page through until a card drew my attention. A 1953 card did, and along the way I learned a couple interesting things about a player I never really knew.
Here's the card...
...of pitcher Turk Lown. It was the autograph that caught my eye, because '53s have an autograph on the back, not the front. The one on the front is the real deal. Well, according to the seller on ebay its the real deal. Honestly, I had forgotten about this signed card. When I was putting my '53 set together, the Lown was one of the last cards I needed. I saw the auction for this one, and I decided to see just how high it would go for. It didn't go for much at all. In fact, I was the only bidder and the price was only a buck or two more than a regular card. I figured, why not, and got it.
If you compare the signature on the front with the one on the back, you can see that they are pretty similar. I also wonder if anyone would bother to create fake Turk Lown cards. Mantle, yes; Mays or Williams, sure. But probably not Turk Lown.
Now look again at the signature part on the back. But this time, ignore the signature and read the back. Turk was an accidental pitcher, and he ended up in the major league. Plus, he's a hero, a Purple Heart vet wounded at the Battle of the Bulge.
Does it seem to you that players from the '50s had far more interesting stories and lives than modern players? And more interesting nicknames too.
And if you're wondering about his nickname, here's the story: Being a low-paid minor leaguer, he would often eat only once a day. His menu choice was the biggest meal on the menu, usually turkey. Eat a lot of turkey, get a nickname, Turk.