This Week in Milford

April 13, 2022

Gregg Hamm, The Next Ryne Duren. Or Steve Dalkowski. Or Something.

Good grief, how many times is Gil gonna name-check people? Eventually, this strip will just consist of Gil spouting random names. Rubin, if you’re reading this, please know that you can just name check your friends (or pull names from LinkedIn) only so much. It’s as though the story takes a backseat to the shout-outs.

Now on to the story. Gregg’s problem seems to be a non-problem IMO. He wears glasses but can’t see the catcher’s digits? Get a new prescription, dumb-ass. Problem solved. Maybe if he hadn’t dyed his blond hair lavender, he could scrape up enough money for a cheap pair of specs. Wonder if Pranit Rock can lend him some of his gambling winnings?

The two most infamous fireballers with bad eyesight and worse control are called out in the post title. They’re both a little before my time but their stories are legend. Ryne Duren struggled in the minors until he was converted into a relief pitcher. He then went on to have a fitful career with the Kansas City A’s, Yankees, Angels, Phillies, Reds and expansion Senators. Struggling with alcoholism and the death of his infant child, Duren attempted suicide in Washington and was talked down from the ledge by Nats manager Gil Hodges. He was released soon after. After the breakup of his marriage and another suicide attempt, Duren eventually became an addiction counselor and managed to have a productive life after baseball.

Steve Dalkowski‘s story is even sadder. He spent many years in the Orioles’ farm system, never quite getting his act together to get called up to the show. While managing Dalko at AA Elmira, Earl Weaver determined that he was possessed of less than average intelligence. Weaver made it really simple for Dalko, telling him to either throw fastballs down the middle or sliders. Dalkowski’s stats improved but an injury in spring training 1963 effectively ended his career. His post-baseball life was even worse than Duren’s: his alcoholism led to his divorce and, eventually, alcohol-induced dementia. Sadly, he died from complications from COVID-19 almost two years ago to the day, when the virus was ripping through nursing homes in Connecticut.

Not all bespectacled pitchers are doomed to a horrible fate (WARNING: teenchy name drop imminent). Because of my location and my circle of friends, I got to know Walt Masterson fairly well in the final decade of his life. Walt was a workhorse, mostly for the original AL Nats from just before WWII into the early fifties but also for the Red Sox and Tigers. Walt’s glasses weren’t Coke bottle thick but they were tinted due to his extreme sensitivity to light. After his baseball career, Walt was a pitching coach for the Rangers and head coach at George Mason. He was instrumental in the founding of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and in getting the player pension program off the ground before passing at age 87.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Gil needs to treat Gregg a bit like Earl treated Dalko. Put a little sense in his head and send him to an optometrist. Maybe Rubin can name drop one in an upcoming strip.

6 Comments »

  1. In addition to showing close-up shots of feet (like yesterday), Rub/Wig also like to show their characters eating and/or drinking as they talk and put together ordinary yet clear-sounding sentences. In real life, Mr. Magoo here would be sounding more like ” …or ‘ant’ee eyens um a a atchherrr…urp…”

    Comment by franku2016 — April 13, 2022 @ 2:45 pm

  2. When I first read this strip, I thought Scooter(?) was talking to his dad, and his dad was maybe talking about his past baseball life. If you ignore the “Fire up, Gregg” part.

    Comment by MopMan — April 13, 2022 @ 2:49 pm

  3. I thought pops was in the strip too, what with the gray lavender hair. Quite cornfusing. Hey, just tell the catcher and the hitter what’s coming. I’m sure they can’t hit your stuff regardless.

    Comment by Jive Turkey — April 13, 2022 @ 3:01 pm

  4. 1. That’s no high school kid, it’s Jamie Moyer!!

    1a. I’m going to give Rubin the benefit of the doubt and presume Gregg is too stupid/prideful to admit he’s having trouble seeing clearly and not that his failing eyesight means he’s got a malignant tumor or something…

    2. Are you shitting me? You can’t see the signs from catcher? Well in that case how the hell can you see the plate? Even more importantly, why the hell haven’t Gilberto or Kazuo noticed??

    3. Are you shitting me, part two?? You want to try a stronger eyeglass prescription already?? You want to tell your catcher to put neon-colored nail polish and/or tape strips on his fingers for maximum visibility? (Yes, the Major League backstops do this all the time)…

    Comment by hitorque — April 13, 2022 @ 4:06 pm

  5. […] of choice: trot the Hammer out to the bump every third day and have him throw wildly at stuff Nuke Laloosh style to put the fear of God into opposing batters. Nah. That would inject some semblance of logic […]

    Pingback by By This Logic, He’d Wear a Football Helmet If He Was Deaf | This Week in Milford — May 28, 2022 @ 9:38 pm

  6. […] baseball history lesson is – aw, hell, we had this baseball history lesson almost two months ago. The Hammer isn’t going to start drinking heavily or contemplate suicide. Nope, he’s […]

    Pingback by Charis Puts It Bluntly | This Week in Milford — June 4, 2022 @ 2:06 pm


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