March 21, 2006

The Fantastic Card of the Day


I learned something really great just now: U.L. Washington’s real first name is U.L. For that reason alone, U.L. Washington’s rookie card is the Fantastic Card of the Day. Really, for all the stuff that’s been written about classic sports names, it really doesn’t get any better than having initials as your real name (sidebar: my own grandfather’s real name was B.F.; his father’s first and middle names were Benjamin and Franklin, so they shortened it). It gets you thinking…did U.L. have a relative with a name like…Uncle Levi? See? I can’t even think of a man’s first name that starts with the letter ‘U’. Also great about this card, it’s Mickey Klutts’ rookie as well. That’s two great names on one card. I think the only way that this could’ve been topped was if Bake McBride and Sixto Lezcano somehow ended up on the same card.

And personally, I would like to know what happened to Sixto Lezcano. I’m not so concerned about Bake. With a name like Bake McBride you will pretty much have the best life imaginable: get up around 2pm every day, sit around, maybe make some microwave macaroni and cheese, watch Jeopardy!, prank call Larry Bowa, Google yourself, call your country-singing wife Martina McBride who’s out on the road touring, and maybe watch a little Nick at Nite. Then later head down to the basement, smoke part of one of the Championship joints from 1980 you keep in that old cigar box next to the furnace, burn a little incense, get out that Wailers record that opens like a lighter, put on your engineer’s cap, flip on the transformer and generally chill out while your massive, basement-engulfing O-scale model train setup does its thing.

But Lezcano—I wonder if he tried to hold a job down after retiring, like driving a snowplow. Or did he tour the globe, one vegetarian restaurant open-mic night at a time, playing acoustic guitar? Or maybe he’s one of those genius hermits who sell their World of Warcraft characters on eBay? Or, best of all, did he become a pirate? Does he live on a ghost ship or on a deserted island? And drink rum around gigantic bonfires with Keira Knightley? I can see it now, them staying up for hours, just talking, (because Sixto can listen, baby), she telling him about how Orlando Bloom can’t act his way out of a cardboard box and he regaling her with stories about Charlie Moore, Dick Davis and the rest of Bambi’s Bombers and how Keith Richards—his real father—coaxed him to retire and focus on the open road and eventually the open sea, armed with just a pair of spikes and a six-string, El Mariachi-style. Him being Richards’ son would explain Sixto’s vast improvisational skill on the guitar, as well as his passion for hard liquor and telling rambling, hard-to-believe tall tales about Gorman Thomas, Pete Vukovich and the night he invented the drum solo at Ben Ogilvie’s jazz joint.

One final note about U.L. Washington. I think it would be really awesome if major league baseball was dissolved today and a new league of warring legions, based on where you lived and where you grew up (but also based on bloodlines and having the same last name) took its place. That way Rocco Baldelli would be on the New England team and U.L., Claudell and Ron Washington would’ve been on the same team, and the backs of their uniforms would’ve been fun because it would just say ‘Claudell’ or ‘U.L.’ or ‘Ron.’ Also, I would make Paul Newman the honorary manager, and I would hold a special ceremony before the team boarded the bus for the first time and give the three Washingtons a suitcase containing a slot car racing set and three pairs of black hornrim glasses.

19 comments:

Phillip said...

I imagine that U.L.'s ancestor's name was Udonis Longfellow, the lesser-known writer.

Anonymous said...

Sixto's actually got his own website: http://www.sixtolezcano.com/

Anonymous said...

you really ought to apologize to me for the bruises, because every time I read a posting, I kick myself for not thinking of it first, great blog, keep up the good work

Scott said...

Better yet U L used to play with a toothpick hanging out of his mouth. Good thing he never swallowed it or he'd be with Ray Chapman in the history books.

SK said...

Strange. When I think of Bake McBride I imagine the same daily routine. I have to think he invites Oscar Gamble over for some of that 1980 championship weed.

Anonymous said...

Udonis Longfellow makes more sense, but isn't Uriah also a male name starting with a U?

The Rev said...

I was wanting to mention the toothpick, and someone stole my thunder.

I watched the 1980 World Series as a kid, and remembered the UL Washington toothpick. I always wondered why he didn't swallow that thing accidentally.

1980... Bake McBride, and UL Washington in the same World Series. Good times!

Crawford said...

ULYSSES!

josh Mueller said...

Udell Langston perhaps

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that BAKE , CLIFF JOHNSON and ELLIOT MADDOX hang out all the time.......although one thing to note.......they dont listen to THE WAILERS..........it's more of an OHIO PLAYERS hang..........."HOLLYWOOD SWINGIN'" by KOOL AND THE GANG is played a lot as well.

MOWO!™

Anonymous said...

All this talk of amazing names that start with the letter "U" and no one has mentioned one of the greatest set of initials in MLB history: UUU, belonging to the now infamous Ugueth Urtain Urbina.

Bonus ridiculous name note: All of Uggie's brothers (I think he is one of three or four) all have the initials UUU with no repeated first or middle names, which is just insane.

Anonymous said...

Ah ha! Found them: the Trip-U Brothers are the aforementioned Ugueth Urtain Urbina and his two brothers, Ulises Utah Urbina and Ulmer Ulses Urbina

Winger said...

I've spent my whole life as K.J. I mean, the only people who have ever called me Kenneth who weren't immediately corrected were cops, but they don't count due to the trauma involved. I know I don't really count because I have multi-graphemic names, but I've lived those damned initials, man. Do you know how embarrassing it was when all my friends had those little personalized license plates on their bikes and the closest I could get was Ken? Horrible stuff, man. Great blog, by the way - you really bring back the memories without having to suck on tea-soaked biscuits like Proust.

uwmryan said...

Fun fact on U.L Washington that I ran across today on my baseball calendar:

"Kansas City's U.L. Washington hit only two home runs in 101 games in 1979. But, both came on September 21: one left-handed, one right-handed."

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Benny Friedman said...

How about the fact that these two Hall of Fame names that you mention are on the same card as an actual Hall of Famer (Molitor), and a guy who should be there (Trammell)?

Anonymous said...

Funny -

I once offered a Canseco RC to my friend for his Cecil Cooper RC. He agreed before realizing the Coop shared his RC with Fisk in the 72 set.

jimbo rodriguez said...

Maybe his parents were trying to get him named "Ewell" like Ewell Blackwell the old Reds pitcher, and the person filling out the birth certificate spelled it U.L.

How about Ugueth Lamar Washington?

Anonymous said...

You know that game where you name a country and the next person has to name another country that starts with the last letter of the country just named? Well, one time a friend and I were playing this with baseball player names, and U.L. Washington saved me in those pre-Ugeth Urbina days.