Monday, March 31, 2014

Memorabilia Monday: Back in My Day, Sonny....

I do not believe that people have a genetic predisposition toward hoarding.  Hoarding is a learned trait that is passed down from generation to generation like some weird milk jug or, in my wife's case, an Old Cabin Bitters Bottle from 1863 similar to one that seriously was sold for over $4,000 at an auction:

That's not my memorabilia for Monday, though.  MY Monday memorabilia is much more akin to my inherited tendencies that I fight regularly to keep everything that might have value of over $1 one day. These pieces of memorabilia, though, should bring back some memories for all of us over the age of about 35:

That's right -- All-Star ballots.  Back in the old days -- read as, the 1980s and 1990s -- the most advanced computers that anyone in baseball felt comfortable having around were the old punch card computers from about 1968:

Photo source: Michigan Tech "Origins of the Computer" Blog
In fact, rumor has it that this photo shows Bud Selig in 1971 trying to figure out how to avoid free agency ever coming about through the use of sophisticated express keypunch computation.

In seriousness, I have never understood why the fans could be entrusted to select the players to start in the field but not be allowed to vote for any pitchers.  Was Major League Baseball afraid that people would try to select their rival's best starter for the All-Star game in hopes that he would get hurt? Or that he would be unavailable for his team's next game against their team?  In the days of the four-man rotation, that usually would not have been a problem with a Tuesday All-Star game and the next series being a three- or four-game series starting on Thursday or Friday. Even in the worst case scenario, that pitcher would be ready by Sunday's game.

Anyway, it's odd that the 1986 ballot was not sponsored by anyone.  1983 (below) and 1985 were sponsored by Gillette:

Instead, in 1986, Commissioner Peter Ueberroth either suddenly felt bad for turning the Los Angeles Olympics into "the Los Angeles Olympics brought to you by McDonald's" or he just couldn't find anyone to sponsor it.  So, baseball asked fans to provide their demographic information:

Where's the line asking for your Social Security Number?

Thankfully for baseball, by the time 1987 rolled around, the All-Star Ballot became the All-Star booklet sponsored by USA Today and Chevrolet!

Ueberroth must have seen this ballot and said to himself, "Now, that's more like it!"

But, these are cool reminders of the mid-1980s for me.  I mean, where else can you find reminders of players like Enos Cabell, David Green, Ozzie Virgil, Ron Kittle, Lee Lacy, Claudell Washington, and Mike Easler?  What's that you say, on baseball cards?  Oh.  Right.

That's your memorabilia Monday.  Now I need to repack my 80 pounds of all-star ballots.  


  1. I like the ballots! How far back does your collection go?

    1. I only have the four years I showed above. Now, I have a stack from both 1986 and 1987, so if you want one let me know.

  2. I remember punching those things. Never thought to keep one.