Wednesday, September 29, 2010
#327 - Jerry Hairston
Card fact: This is a card of the father of not one, but two current major leaguers.
What I thought about this card then: I had the mini card, and I didn't think much of it because the whole time I had it, it was in terrible shape. Creases everywhere. I think I salvaged it from another kid who had mutilated it. I couldn't stand to see it suffer anymore and took it for my own.
What I think about this card now: Jerry's got that "I just spotted a flying saucer" look on his face.
Other stuff: Jerry Hairston is one of three three-generation families in major league baseball. The others are the Bells and the Boones. Hairston's father, Sam, was a Negro League player who played in the majors for the White Sox in 1951. Hairston's brother, Johnny, played very briefly for the Cubs in 1969.
Meanwhile, his sons Jerry Jr. and Scott play for the Padres.
All of this has been very confusing for me. Hairston threw me for quite a loop when I was a young collector. He played for the White Sox in the mid-1970s, then he disappeared. He wasn't much of a player, so I totally forgot about him. Then, around 1983, I started seeing him on baseball cards again. "Who is this guy?" I wondered. I figured it couldn't be the same player from the mid-70s. It must be a different Jerry Hairston.
Well, not only was he the same Jerry Hairston, but he would go on to play all the way until 1989. He spent his entire career -- except for half a season with the Pirates in 1977 -- with the White Sox. He never reached 300 at-bats in any season as he was used mostly as a pinch-hitter.
And the reason why he disappeared from the majors is he played in the Mexican League from 1978-80.
Believe me, when I found out that there was a Jerry Hairston playing in the majors in the late 1990s, I thought that the Jerry Hairston on this 1975 Topps card was STILL playing. Much to my relief, it was his son.
That's the kind of confusion you can create when you give your kid the same name as you AND disappear to play in the Mexican League.
Back facts: The cartoon asks: "Who the 'Iron Horse'?" I just love it when cartoons speak gangsta.
Other blog stuff: Here is the regular-sized card next to that wrinkly mini card that I saved: