Saturday, January 17, 2009

#3 -- Bobby Tolan

Bobby Tolan

Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Bobby Tolan. That was the top of the lineup for the Reds. Those guys could fly (well, Rose could run hard, but it's a stretch to say he could fly) and they had gap power. That put plenty of runners in scoring position of Johnny Bench and Tony Perez. No wonder they were second in the league in runs/game. This was Bobby’s last really good year. He was coming off a ruptured Achilles that kept him out all of 1971 and I suspect that, and bad blood with management in 1973, led to a downward spiral with Ken Griffey eventually taking his spot in the order and in right field. However, 1972 was rosy for Tolan. He doesn’t really show it here, but I remember him holding his bat really high in his batting stance, not as high as Yastrzemski, but the opposite of Roy White.

Sadly, his 23 year old son, Robbie Tolan, was recently shot by police in Bellaire, Texas, near Houston. Robbie played independent minor league ball in 2008. The Tolans are claiming this was a case of racial profiling. The case is now being investigated and initially it looks like he was mistakenly accused of driving a stolen vehicle because of a mistake in reading the numbers on the plate. In any event, thoughts and prayers to Robbie and his family as he recovers.

1972 feature
Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, Space Invaders, Halo, Grand Theft Auto, RBI Baseball. They're all recognizable video games. Do you remember how it all got started? If you went to an arcade in 1972, you'd see a lot of pinball games. But you wouldn't see any video games. Until Atari released the original video arcade game: Pong. When this came out it was so cool to get to play something on a screen. I think the only special feature it had was that you could adjust the size of the paddles. I might be wrong. There's an arcade nearby that has a Pong machine along with all your favorites from the 80's called 1984.

I think Pong could probably be used as a punishment now, as in, "Jimmy, if you don't get your room cleaned I'm going to make you sit down and play Pong with me for 30 minutes." "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I've got rights. You can't do that to me. I'd rather get sent to Guantanamo and made to eat broccoli!"

I guess you can say we've made progress. But in the beginning, there was Pong. And it was good.


  1. When my daughter got her first gameboy (she's upgraded to nintendo ds), it came with a series of games, including a game that was basically pong, but colored up a bit. I think it was the first time I saw pong since I was a little kid.

    I didn't know that about Tolan's son. That's sad. I always liked the cards with Tolan.

  2. Remember first playing Pong at a tabletop sitdown machine at a pizza place in the mid-70s. It was love at first joystick.