Wednesday, March 9, 2011

#318 Rocky Bridges

Everett Lamar "Rocky" Bridges was a light hitting infielder for seven different clubs between 1951 and 1961. He opened his career in Brooklyn and finished with the expansion Los Angeles Angels. Rocky had a few seasons that could be classified as his being a regular starter but he never seemed to really establish himself in that role, likely due to his bat.

My knowledge of Rocky Bridges revolves around his managerial career in the minor leagues and his numerous quips. His Wikipedia page has this great reference:
The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, Brendan C. Boyd & Fred C. Harris, Little Brown & Co, 1973, began a lengthy writeup next to a picture of a baseball card of the square-jawed, crew-cut, tobacco-chewing Bridges on p.103: "Rocky Bridges looked like a ballplayer. In fact, he may have looked more like a ballplayer than any other ballplayer who ever lived."
In 1964 Sports Illustrated published a terrific article about Bridges, the then newly minted manager of the San Jose Bees. Well worth the read. The story is titled for Rocky's most famous quote: "I managed good, but boy did they play bad." That quote in turn became the title of a Jim Bouton book of essays.

You have to love this card with Rocky displaying his best 'tough guy' pose that features a squint and a huge chaw. 1959 was his first year with the Tigers and the picture used here shows Rocky at Griffith Stadium in D.C. wearing his zipper front Senators uni. 

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