Saturday, April 20, 2013

21 - Dave Bristol Manager of the Reds

I vividly remember looking at this card as a kid and thinking that this guy looks really really horribly old. The way he is smiling with all of the lines moving about his face, his eyes squinting and that lump of tobacco in his mouth (and on his teeth?) ; I just thought the guy looked ancient. Little did I know that this picture is of a 33 year old Dave Bristol, one of the youngest managers in the Majors and that I am sitting here now, a full two years older than the man I always thought looked hideously age-ed in this picture.

That sums up how I felt about this card when I was a boy. I equate my feelings for this card with how my father describes how he felt when he saw the 1952 Topps Gus Zernial card. He never understood why those balls were stupidly stuck to the bat and never cared to figure it out. He simply hated the card. Hated the balls on the bat, hated the player making the OK symbol I think he even hated his name Gus Zernial (it does rhyme with urinal).  I later explained to him why the six
balls were stuck to the bat (symbolize his hitting 6 home runs in a four game span) but this was fifty years too late for him to care not to hate the card. He ultimately gave me that card as a Christmas present when I was 10 because I always thought it looked neat. Still have the card (SEE BELOW).
Bristol had his hands full with the Reds: taking up the job during the '66 season. He kept the post up until becoming the Milwaukee Brewers first Manager in team history in 1970. There, he really had his hands full. Not only were the Brewers an expansion team, they were filled with orphans from the defunct Seattle Pilots team. It's hard to find a single notable name in the 1970 Brewers Yearbook. He went on to manage the Braves and Giants briefly, neither team was doing well before, furing and after Bristol's time with the team.  His best years were with the Reds which were comfortably above average in the latter half of the 60's. He also spent the whole of his professional playing career in the Reds farm system. Now that, I am older than Bristol is on this card, I wish to sincerely apologize to this man and to any kid who finds my face to be hideously, horribly old looking.

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