Baseball in the 60’s and early 70’s


This weekend I had the great opportunity to attend a business seminar (which is not related to Nolan Writin’ at all).  The key not speaker was former major league pitcher Bobby Bolin.  Bolin made his MLB debut for the San Francisco Giants on April 18, 1961 and finished with the Boston Red Sox on September 30, 1973.  Overall he pitched 9 seasons for the Giants, before pitching one season with the Milwaukee Brewers, and finishing his career with three seasons with the Red Sox.

Bolin started and ended his career as a reliever, although in the middle he did appear as a starter.  Bolin pitched in the very first year of the Milwaukee Brewers existence, when current MLB Commissioner Bud Selig bought the Seattle Pilots and moved them to Milwaukee one week before the season was to begin.  In Spring Training 1970, the players played their games known as the Pilots, before the deal was approved and the team was moved to Milwaukee.

Bolin played in the days before free agency in its capacity today and what he refers to as the “BM Days,” I know what is going through most of your minds, but BM stood for Big Money.  Before free agency (started after six years of MLB play),  once you signed with a team, they basically owned your rights until you retired or they released you, or a arbitration panel granted you free agency.  Free agency did not come until the late seventies and when it did MLB salaries increased greatly.

The most interesting thing about Bolin during his speech to us was just the stories of how baseball used to be.  He once talked about when he was with the Giants, the players had to be on the field by 11:30 for a 2 o’clock game.  If they were late they were fined.  He said that for every minute your are late, his manager would charge them a dozen of golf balls.  He said as a joke, if a player was running late, the other players would tie his uniform into knots in order to make him even later.  He said that the manager then used the golf balls to hand them out to players after they had a good play in a game.

His wife Irene spoke of attending spring training with him in Florida, and when the Giants headed west to start the season, the players traveled by plane.  The player’s wives and their children then loaded up into the car and traveled 3000 miles to California.  There were obviously no cell phones at that time and I personally can’t imagine sending my wife on a car trip that many miles, without at least a cell phone.  The player’s today make so much more money and would never make their wives do that, with the average salary this season at 3.3 million.

He talked about how he believed that Willie Mays was the best player he had ever seen, he said you know he played behind me in center field catching my mistakes.  He also talked about how amazing he was on the base baths and he had the best baseball instincts he had ever seen.  He talked about being a reliever and that the manager would tell him to knock down the first batter he faced because they had knocked Mays down earlier in the game and that was their star player, without him the Giants were not the Giants.

It was just awesome to be in the same room as somebody who stood on a major league mound.  So far in my life I have never been the in the presence of a Major League Baseball player.  The closet I had ever gotten was one of my co-workers grew up with A.J. Burnett and Burnett’s day is his Godfather.

During the seminar he used baseball analogies quite often to relate it to the business, so I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Before my wife married me, she had seen a Rangers game one time when she lived in Dallas.  She did not care a thing about baseball before we met and I have to commend her for he diligence to learn the game that I love.  She understood some of the analogies, but not all of them.  I did not record the seminar and I took very few notes, so basically I pulled this post from memory, but I found him very interesting and figured I would share it on here.