I was blogging last week about The Baseball Reliquary, a really cool organization of diehard baseball fans that is, by its own mantra, “dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history.” In that initial blog I noted that Steve Dalkowski, Jim Eisenreich and Roger Maris were slated to be inducted into the Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals this July. I blogged about Maris and noted I’d follow up with Eisenreich, which appears below.
But first, an additional note about the Reliquary sponsoring an exhibition entitled “Cardboard Fetish,” an exploration of baseball trading cards, at the Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena, California, in July 2009 in conjunction with the 11th annual Induction Day ceremony of the Shrine of the Eternals. (a likely candidate for such an exhibition, the 1952 Topps Satchel Paige card by Keith Conforti, is shown above)
That exhibition is going to include trading cards created by a number of artists in Southern California and around the country, and as readers know, I am a huge fan of ersatz baseball cards created by collectors, many of which are far superior to what the card companies produced years ago or even in modern times. The Reliquary is devoting one entire case to the work of Paul Kuhrman, noted for his defaced and altered baseball cards www.paulkuhrman.com.
Here is a link to their website with the page with details regarding the solicitation of artists’ entries. Artists still have a couple of weeks before the deadline for submissions:
And now on to my follow-up to Thursday’s blog: The Jim Eisenreich deal is still pretty vivid in my memory, which is saying a lot given the various gaps that seem to develop in that area at my age.
I had been newly married in 1983 and was in the process of introducing my then-wife to many of the joys of Major League Baseball, but the sad travails of Eisenreich were kind of a stark reminder even in that seemingly trivial undertaking that our diversions are hardly exempt from the same real-life grimness that seems to touch everything else.
We watched in horror (figuratively speaking, much of it was in newspaper reports) about the often brutal reaction of fans to Eisenreich’s odd twitching behaviors as he tried to make it with the Minnesota Twins. His Tourette’s syndrome was undiagnosed at the time, so what appeared to be a young player simply struggling mightily with an extreme case of nerves brought unimaginable torment from fans as he fought to launch an MLB career under the most arduous circumstances ever devised.
I understand that in hindsight many of those who were toughest on the young outfielder contend that had they known it was an actual affliction that bedeviled Eisenreich they would have reacted differently. I would suggest instead that it was deplorable that he had to endure what he did in addition to the staggering burden from his Tourette’s.
Though I had the assistance of having my ex-wife psychologist at my side as I watched his anguish, I was appalled that he was subjected to that abuse regardless of whether or not people understood what was ailing him.
It made his eventual triumph all the more compelling – nine solid major league seasons with the Royals and the Phillies – but it made his torture at the hands of fans no less inexcusable.