Sunday, April 7, 2024

The No More Chew Man


TRIVIA WINNER: True to form this 50 Point question stumped ALMOST everyone who replied. You had to read the question carefully. The last five Brooklyn Dodger players who finished their careers with the Los Angeles Dodgers were Jim Gilliam, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese and Carl Furillo. Here was the tough part. The Brooklyn Dodger player who was active in the Dodgers clubhouse the longest in LA was Tommy Lasorda. He played in Brooklyn and managed the LA Dodgers until 1996. The Prize: 50 points toward the person's total.

NEW TRIVIA CONTEST: You will still be required to enter the drawing as usual. However,  through the end of 2024 you will get points depending on the complexity of the questions. Enter each week and correct answers will get those points-one guess per person per week. The reader with the most points after the years final column will get a $50 Starbucks Gift Card. Ties will be placed into a drawing. Questions will be worth anywhere from 10-25 points depending on degree of difficulty. Questions will be more difficult as the year goes on, so you are never really out of the mix. Tell your friends and sports fans who like trivia. We will keep track of your points. - YOU MUST ENTER VIA THE EMAIL AT THE END OF THIS COLUMN.

NEW TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the player who was a 12 time Letterman in three sports in college with offers from both the Browns in the NFL and the Harlem Globetrotters but decided on baseball as a career? Answer is worth 30 POINTS.

 Like the Athletics, the first hitter to bat for the team in the 1960s was a well traveled player. While a very good player, Bill Tuttle is best remembered as an advocate of "not" chewing tobacco. With the A's moving to Sacramento as an interim stop to Las Vegas we thought it prudent to highlight Tuttle. The A's of course went from Philadelphia to Kansas City to Oakland, now Sacramento and next Vegas. In Tuttle's 11 year career he played for Detroit, KC and Minnesota.

Quirky like many players who held superstitions about the game, Tuttle would hand another player his glove to hold when his team was batting. He'd have the same player hold it until he had a bad game and then he'd switch to another teammate. Tuttle also wore no. 13.

A fine defensive center-fielder who also played the infield, he was the first A's batter in their opening day game against the White Sox and grounded out facing Early Wynn. He would go two for six in a 10-9 loss and uncharacteristically made an error. He would go on to bat .256 with eight homers on the season.

In his career he would hit .259 with 67 home runs and even got some votes for MVP in 1959 when he batted .300 for KC. In 1954 he led all major leaguers, playing in 154 games. He often led the AL in defensive categories including outfield assists. He was a gamer. 

However, his baseball cards tell a story he learned later in life. It was not bubble gum in his jaw on all those Topps cards. It was tobacco or better known as Chew. In later years he developed oral cancer and went through several operations. With not much time left he became an advocate, doing television spots trying to get players to stop chewing tobacco. He was known to say it's difficult to get a player making $4 million a season to listen to his advice.

He volunteered with the National Spit Tobacco Education Program of Oral Health America. The last five years of his life were dedicated to the cause. He was featured in a Readers Digest article, "My War With A Smoke Free Killer." He told the story of how a teammate introduced him to Chew while he was out injured and he became addicted. Pictures of a facially disfigured Tuttle were included in the story. 

Tuttle died in 1998 at the age of 69, spending the final days of his life trying to help others from going through what would eventually kill him. 

TRIVIA CONTEST; Enter via the following email. Send 1) your answer to the trivia question at the top of the column, 2) your name, address and email so where we know where to send the card if you win 3) any comment you have on the column. One winner will be selected at the end of the calender year based on the total points acquired via weekly contests.

I've written more than a dozen books including at least two sports books. You can find these at my Amazon page or at my own website Please take a look at the sports books, the western novel series or the "Tattoo Murder," which is a crime book set in Ventura, CA.

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Just a note to add; If you look at the top right hand corner of the side bar you will see a link to daily sports scores. We made an agreement with Baseball 24 in a mutual sharing situation. Hope its helpful to fans of several sports.


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