Friday, January 22, 2016

No Cards, Just Photos

I've been in San Francisco this week for an ABA meeting. It's been a crazy meeting for me. Despite arriving on Tuesday night, yesterday was the first time I even stepped foot outside of the hotel.

I was planning today to get to walk around the city some and take pictures. Unfortunately, it's nasty weather and not a very photogenic day here in the Bay Area. But, I did get to do something fun.

Across the street from my hotel is this big dive bar called Lefty O'Doul's Restaurant and Piano Bar. This photo isn't mine; if it were, you would see more umbrellas.

Some of you probably recognize the name Lefty O'Doul

Lefty came up as a 22-year-old reliever with the New York Yankees in 1919 after being signed from the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League.  He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1922 as the PTBNL in a deal in which Joe Dugan and Elmer Smith went to the Yankees and Chick Fewster, Elmer Miller, Johnny Mitchell, and $50,000 went to the Red Sox.

O'Doul pitched fairly ineffectively in 23 games in 1923. He developed a sore arm, and so he returned to the PCL and transitioned to the outfield. He returned to the major leagues in 1928 at the age of 31 and had turned himself into a contact hitter extraordinaire.  His best season came in 1929 for the Phillies. He hit .398/.465/.622 with 32 HR, 122 RBI, and 254 hits in 732 plate appearances. Perhaps even more amazingly to our 21st century eyes, Lefty walked 76 times and struck out only 19 times. He finished second (rightly so) behind Rogers Hornsby in the MVP race that year.

According to Wikipedia, O'Doul's career .349 batting average is the highest for any player not in the Hall of Fame who is eligible for enshrinement. Not that that should mean that he should be enshrined, mind you -- his career simply wasn't long enough to justify it. However, O'Doul is enshrined in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame thanks to his work both before and after World War II in helping baseball to expand there. 

After he retired from baseball as a player, he returned to his native San Francisco and managed the San Francisco Seals -- including Joe DiMaggio.  He also opened up a bar on Geary Street near Union Square -- the eatery that still bears his name today.

I hope you enjoy my look around inside the place.

Have a great weekend and stay safe in Snowstorm Jonas!


  1. Lefty's is a fine stop for baseball geeks, they've been trying to close it for years but it keeps hanging on, which is great. If your flight plans are delayed due to the storm, maybe you can make it to a card show on Saturday at a mall that's about 10 miles south of downtown!

    1. If that happens, I'll do that. Hell, if I'd known about the show, I might have stayed an extra day!

  2. Looks like a great bar for a baseball fan. I'm not looking forward to the snow.

  3. I'm glad to see you got out of the hotel. Great pics and info, thanks. Can't wait to see more from those Christmas binders. Makes me want to take a trip back home.

  4. Fun trip across the street! How could you resist? Most importantly, was the beer cold?

    1. Shoot, Julie, I drank so much wine and gin in the two days before Friday that I failed to have a beer with my lunch.