30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Humongous Birthday Whale

When it comes to this hobby, one of my favorite feelings is finally finding something I've been looking for after years and years of searching.

What I'm about to show you might at first glance look like your everyday, dime a dozen ticket stub.  But to me... it's pretty special, because it's the stub from the Oakland A's home game on the day I was born.

That night, the first place A's were kicking off a three game series against the Detroit Tigers at the Oakland Coliseum in front of a reported 7,776 fans.  Wow.  Kinda makes me appreciate the current ten to fifteen thousand loyal fans who show up to games these days.

It's also one of the reasons this ticket was so difficult to track down.  There were only a handful of people who actually attended this game... and when you consider how many of those people actually kept their ticket stubs after all of these years, you can start to understand why it took so long for me to track one down.  Plus... consider that this was just another game with no major historical significance outside of it being my special day and you have what I call... my personal white whale.

So since it's the forty-fourth anniversary of this run-of-the-mill early 70's Major League Baseball game, I figured I'd share some of the highlights from the game, along with some of the memorabilia I've been collecting to commemorate it.

#1:  Two Iconic Managers Face Off

Billy Martin is my favorite manager of all-time and I think it's pretty awesome that he was managing the Tigers right across the San Francisco Bay on the night of my birth.  In the other dugout, hall of fame manager Dick Williams was less than two months away from leading the Oakland Athletics to their first World Series title in over four decades.

#2:  Holtzman and Fingers Dominate Tigers Batters

Okay... maybe Ken Holtzman didn't actually shut down the Tigers, but he did pitch five solid innings, while only allowing six hits and one earned run.  On the other hand, Rollie relieved Holtzman in the sixth after he allowed back to back singles to open the inning.  He struck out the first batter he faced... then got Dick McAuliffe to ground into a double play to end the inning.  Fingers closed out the final four innings allowing only two hits, zero runs, while striking out six.

#3:  Hall of Famer Al Kaline Shines

The lone bright spot for the Detroit Tigers was their hall of fame right fielder who went 2 for 3 at the plate and drove in their only run.

#4:  Dal Maxvill's Perfect Day

I'll be honest, I hadn't heard of Mr. Maxvill until I started doing research for my birthday project.  But now I realize he had a pretty special day at the plate.  He went 2 for 2 and successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt that eventually led to Bert Campaneris driving in a run which was scored by Gene Tenace.

He's also my very first successful TTM.  I shipped out the request at the start of August with a letter describing this project.  He was kind enough to sign my 1973 Topps card and a 1968 Topps card that features him with the St. Louis Cardinals.

#5:  Joe Rudi Smacks a 3 Run Homer

One of my goals is to collect an autograph of every single guy who hit a home run on the day I was born.  I figured I'd start off with Joe Rudi who launched a 3 run blast off of Joe Coleman in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

There were only eight other guys who hit a home run that day, so it should be a challenging, yet realistic task.  I also want to add the signatures of the three players who collected four hits that day.  And rounding out this special collection will be the five pitchers who tossed complete game shutouts.  Not sure if I'll ever complete this project, but it should be fun trying.

Okay... your turn:

Did anything cool happen in sports on the day of your birth?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. I was born November 10. The only really interesting thing to occur was Gordie Howe setting the then-NHL record of 545 career goals (Gretzky would later surpass him).

    No baseball in November, sadly.

  2. Congratulations on tracking down that fantastic whale! I was also born in the off-season, and there were no baseball trades, births or deaths on that particular day. I've never checked other sports.

    You've gotta love a 4-inning Rollie Fingers save.

    Since you're on the left coast, you're not going to make the same "birthday whale" association that I made... Fudgie The Whale, an ice cream cake sold by Carvel Ice Cream Shoppes. Everyone from the northeast and of a certain age is familiar with the commercials done by Tom Carvel:

    1. (insert headslap here) I was so focused on the stub and Fudgie The Whale that I completely missed the whole point of the post...

      Happy (now belated) birthday!

  3. I just looked around the internet looking to see what happened on the day I was born, and nothing apparently happened on that day other than my birth.

  4. happy birthday! what a find. Dal Maxvill former Redbird player and GM.

  5. On my birthday, Sandy Koufax pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout against the Cubs to go to 16-3 and singled twice. This is an awesome fact that I can't believe I haven't shared on my blog yet. I'm sure a ticket for that game goes for a pretty nickel.

    P.S.: Dal Maxvill has one of the best cards in the 1971 Topps set.

    Happy birthday!

  6. The only real sport that goes on during the month my b-day is in is football, or as Americans call it, soccer. I'm sure Real Madrid did something fun once on my day of birth. The other sporting events that go on in my bday month aren't real legitimate sports so I wouldn't know what goes on in them.

  7. Happy birthday! It's after midnight here but being on the west coast it's still the 1st for you! I thought of Fudgie the Whale as well.

  8. Happy Birthday. The only thing I remember on my birthday was the tragic US Cole bombing in Yemen. That kind of depressed me so I went online and found that George Harrison released Got My MInd Set on You on Oct 12th 1987. On my exact birthday (Oct 12 1982) Paul Molitor set the then record with 5 hits in a world series game.

  9. Happy Birthday! Not sure about anything happening on specific day I was born, but my Miami Dolphins fandom started when they played on my birthday in 1983. I made the choice to back the team in teal and orange that evening, and I've been miserable ever since. Come to think of it, the Dolphins were the reigning Super Bowl champs at the time of my birth in 1974.

  10. On my birthday, Muhammad Ali beat Floyd Patterson in a 12 round TKO to retain the WBC title.

  11. thank you all for the kind birthday wishes!

    j. meeks - that's a pretty solid piece of sports history. no baseball... but at least you're birthday takes place during the nfl season.

    shlabotnikreport - fudge the whale sounds amazing. my favorite birthday cakes of all-time are ice cream cakes. and that four inning save is pure awesomeness. miss them days

    b-man - had mr. maxvill sign something for you too.

    night owl - solid day for sandy. tickets might go for a lot, but the good news is that there's a chance that at least some fans saved those stubs. agree... that 1971 card is sweet.

    zippy - lol... what constitutes an non-legitimate sport ;)

    matthew scott - i remember the bombing in Yemen. talked about it in class with my 5th graders for current events. sad day.

    r laughton - had to use google translate to figure out what your wrote. thanks!

    ko rob - i was always a big marino fan. his whole career i was pulling for him to win a ring.

    carlsonjok - nice. that's definitely something to write about.

  12. Apparently wayyyyyyy back in 1876, a mere 102 years before I was born... The first NL game was played... Now, it's impossible to see a game on my birthday unless it's Spring Training.

    Also, in 1931 Jackie Mitchell becomes the first woman in pro baseball..

    My birthday is April 1

  13. Not sports, but the day I was born was the day Star Trek was first shown to the public. Not on TV--that was a few days later--but at the World Science Fiction Convention.

  14. mike matson - great trivia. never heard of jackie mitchell. i'll need to read up on her.

    brett alan - that's pretty cool. especially if you grew up to be a trekkie.