My uncle Marty was a huge baseball fan. Loved the sport. He loved the game, players, stories and most of all to talk about it with like-minded people. Marty also had one of those sense of humors that not everyone understands, but for those who do, his comments could get you laughing uncontrollably until tears streamed down your face. I may have inherited some of that, but I truly appreciated his. He could talk “silliness” as he put it with the best.
I can’t tell you exactly when this event occurred, it had to have been prior to June of 2008 as that is when Mart passed away. I know it was between 2005 and 2008 because of the main character in this story playing with Milwaukee then, and I’m guessing it was 2005 or 06 as he was still very effective at the time. It also took place on a Sunday; I know that much. My cousin Tom, Mart’s oldest son was also in attendance, he and I agree on that and what follows, the rest is lost to time.
I was over at my uncle’s house watching baseball, as mentioned, it was a Sunday afternoon. He had the MLB Package, so he could watch any (and all) games and for some reason, we were watching the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s the 9th inning and in comes their closer, a right-handed pitcher named Derrick Turnbow to “save” the game. Now Derrick was an interesting looking guy. He was 6’3, 195lbs during his playing days. Pretty standard. He also had a slightly crooked, full nose, stringy long hair that tended to stick out of the sides of his baseball cap, with the help of some large protruding ears. And Marty says something to the effect of, “that has got to be the ugliest player I’ve seen in years”! I‘m sure I agreed and the game continued.
Well, Marty didn’t leave it at that, he goes on with and again I wasn’t writing this down, “you know who else is really ugly, the old relief pitcher from the Cubs, you know the guy with six fingers”? And I responded something like, “you mean, Antonio Alfonseca”, to which he agreed.
Well that was that, Marty now had to come up with his “All Ugly Team”. This is where things get dicey, because we started laughing. And of course, names are thrown around and some “make the team”, others, not so much. But we are having a grand ole time. Nothing is written down, but we laughed, threw out names, watched some of whatever game was put on after the Brewers and then would add someone else and laugh some more. Pure fun, no hostility meant by it, just silliness in the moment. I got home later that night and remember telling my son Michael about it and of course he and I laughed as well.
Well, time went on and Marty passed away from various cancers that ravaged his body and it just didn’t occur to me to ever bring it up again. But since he’s been gone, I think about it occasionally with many other glorious times I spent with him. Games we attended together, the baseball he taught me, life lessons and just all-around fun. I miss him dearly.
Since starting my blog writing again, this memory just kept coming back and I began to try and piece the “All Ugly Team” together. I reached out to several of my cousins, but only Tom recalled the “event” or any of the players. Michael confirmed some of these as well. So below is what we came up with:
No given Position:
Pete Rose (don't think the ban would affect his status in this lineup)
There may have been others; I really don’t recall if we came up with a full team that day or not. Again, this is not to cast dispersions on any of these players. They all had decent to very good careers. They were a part of an afternoon of fun, that has mostly stayed in my memory along with a man who helped develop my lifelong love of the game.
In the future, I will probably write about more “traditionally themed” all time teams, but this one had to be the first! Hope you enjoyed my trip down “memory lane” and if you have the chance, go ahead and build your own “team”.
~ Coach Mike