Sunday, January 18, 2009

#6 -- Fred Scherman

Fred Scherman

Pitchers were different in the early 70’s than now. If Fred pitched now, he’d be a lefty specialist and have 57 appearances and 41 1/3 innings pitched. Instead, Fred has 94 innings pitched in 1972. For the ’72 Tigers, he did it all. He finished 27 games, saving 12, and made 3 spot starts. The last 2 were disasters in the September pennant race. He lasted 5 1/3 in the first….and then threw 5 innings in relief 2 days later. Who would let their closer or lefty specialist do that now? However, in 1972, there really wasn't any such thing as a left-handed specialist. Pitchers were expected to pitch and get out whoever had a bat in their hand, no matter what the inning was. Now, pitchers have to have a "role" and if Mariano Rivera were to enter a game in the 7th inning, there would be so much second-guessing about how he was used.

Most of the 1972 cards are posed shots. Fred's no exception. He's also got the long sideburns that you'll see on several other cards. There's a lot of activity in the background and, WAIT, IS THAT A UFO BELOW THE "R" IN TIGERS? Oh, never mind, Just a stray baseball. Whew. I also noticed how the Tigers had football numbers on their sleeves. I'm glad that didn't catch on.

1972 Feature
Evel Knievel. He was so cool. It seemed like he was on ABC's Wide World of Sports doing a jump 2-3 times a year. Later on he'd try to jump canyons. I can't forget his interview in the early part of the decade on the Jim Rome radio show when asked why he'd attempt the Snake River Canyon jump when he knew it was a 50-50 chance he'd be killed, responding simply, "Do you know who the hell I am?"

The Snake River jump was supposed to have taken place on Labor Day 1972, but a disasterous landing at the Cow Palace caused a concussion and broken back and took him out of action for a year. He ended up attempting that jump in 1974. Every boy in the 70's wanted the Evel Knievel action figures. I've read varying accounts that they came out in 1972 and 1974. No matter.

Evel led a wild life, but I was happy to read in the year before his death he was publicly baptized and professed his faith in Jesus. I don't care who you are, that's not a jump you can make by yourself.


  1. wow. With that puffy warm-up jacket and numbers on the uniform sleeve, he almost looks like a scrawny football player.

  2. Sweet piece on Evil. I have faint memories of the Snake River jump.