Yearly: 2019

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2019: Those We’ve Lost: Part Two

This second part of Those We’ve Lost in 2019 covers a wide mix of sports players, pop musicians, and tv personalities. 

Part two of those we lost in 2019 are: Bobby Dillon, E.J. Holub, Keith Lincoln, Vince Costello, John Ralston, Bill Stacy, Nick Buoniconti, Bart Starr, Tommy Brooker, Jerry Rook, Bob Rule, Larry Garron, Bill Buckner, Peggy Lipton, Valerie Harper, Tom Polanic, Jim Langer, Denise Nickerson, Joe Grzenda, Tome Phoebus, Sam Davis, Jack Dolbin, Mike Thomas, Donnie Green, Katherine Helmond, Rik Ocasek, Wally Chambers, Jim Pettie, Brian Bennett, and Ray Peters.

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2019 Those We’ve Lost: Part One

As we approach the end of another year and another decade, RetroCards will take the space of the next couple of posts to honor some our childhood heroes from the sports and pop culture worlds. We are starting to lose our heroes at an alarming rate.

Part one of those we lost in 2019 are: Mel Stottlemyre, Bob Kuechenberg, Roy Hilton, Turk Schoenert, Jimmy Rayl, Joe O’Donnell, Wade Wilson, Glen Ray Hines, Frank Robinson, Peter Tork, Cedrick Hardman, Nate Ramsey, Willie Ellison, Anthony Dickerson, Clem Daniels, Ordell Braase, Joe Bellino, Jim Holt, John Havlicek, Forrest Gregg, Dan LaRose, Gino Marchetti, Bob Zeman, Tim Conway, Jim Bouton, Walt Michaels, Bert Rechichar, Cliff Branch, Jack Rudolph, Jumpin’ Jackie Jackson, and Arnie Brown.

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New To the Neighborhood: Mister Rogers RetroCards

My wonderful and protected world of the 1970s was made for me by a good family, a collection of quality friends and an involved neighborhood. The television we watched reflected this world and Mister Rogers Neighborhood was the perfect complement.

Unlike the sugar-rush pace of cartoons and children’s programming today, Mister Rogers was calm, collected, mellow, and thought provoking. The goal of his program was to give an expression of care every day to each child to help him realize that he is unique. He said to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee in 1969, “If we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable we will have done a great service for mental health.”

2018’s documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and the 2019’s feature film “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks shows his lasting influence. RetroCards now offers a unique set showing the highlights of his show including the main cast and characters. The 20-card set includes: Mister Rogers, Mr. McFeely, Lady Aberlain, Handyman Negri, Chef Brockett, Officer Cleamons, Bob Troll, plus the Land of Make Believe characters X The Owl, Henrietta Pussycat, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, and of course, the Trolly. Guest appearances by Big Bird from Sesame Street and Captain Kangaroo are also featured.

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Facemasks Part II: Baseball Gets In the Act

In this second entry on facemasks, RetroCards looks at the world of baseball. Broken jaws are not uncommon in that sport and one early attempt at adding a facemask to a baseball helmet can be traced to Dave Parker (photos 1-4) in 1978 when he first used a hockey mask he purchased at a sporting goods store to protect a broken jaw. An intimidating player without the mask, he probably intimidating opposing pitchers with this unique choice until he switched to a football facemask which afforded him better vision.

The same goes for Ellis Valintine of the Expos (photos 5-6), where he wore a cut-in-half football facemask after a March 1980 injury to his cheekbone where it was shattered in 6 places. In another instance, Gary Roenicke used a football facemask after being hit in the mouth with a fastball that caused 25 stitches. He went to the Baltimore Colts locker room and used quarterback Bert Jones’ mask, screwing it onto his batting helmet (photo 9). He had a more stylized one made eventually (photo 10). Meanwhile, photo 8 shows an unidentified minor leaguer using a rather large cage to protect the throat area. Photo 7 shows current player Giancarlo Stanton with a sensible and customized mask to protect his matinee idol face. Will these become standard equipment in major league baseball? Probably.

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Facemasks: A Pictorial History of Oddities

1. John Williams, Los Angeles Rams, 1978
2. Fred Williamson, Kansas City Chiefs, 1968
3. Keith Fahnhorst, San Fransisco 49ers, 1978
4. Dan Dierdorf, St. Louis Cardinals, 1977
5. Scott Player, Cleveland Browns, 2007
6. Norm Thompson, St. Louis Cardinals, 1976
7. Leonard Thompson, Detroit Lions, 1983
8. Pat Hughes, New Orleans Saints, 1978
9. Charlie Smith, Philadelphia Eagles, 1981
10. Toni Fritsche, Houston Gamblers, 1984
11. Eddie LeBaron, Washington Redskins, 1958
12. Y.A. Tittle, San Francisco 49ers, 1954
13. Doug Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1978
14. Ray Brown, Atlanta Falcons, 1974
15. Ollie Matson, Los Angeles Rams, 1959

Football facemasks have always fascinated me, particularly unusual ones. The evolution of the facemask had very humble beginnings. Starting in the leather helmet days, some facemasks were concocted on a one or two-game basis to protect a broken nose or some other facial injury. Early photos show facemasks being used as early as the 1940s. By the mid 1950s, facemasks were common and by 1960, nearly everyone used one.

The 1950s saw Riddle introducing the clear lucite facemask show above by Y.A. Tittle #12. Though they gave better vision, they could shatter so, they were discontinued. The handle you see on Y.A.’s helmet was for extra stability of the facemask but Y.A. commented in an interview that it was easier for the defense to pull him down by that handle!

Some of the above (#’s 4, 7, 9 13) were custom made to protect players with broken jaws while some were designed or modified to give additional protection. Some are just plain strange or totally unique with no apparent reason for the design.

Today, there are specs and rules for the types of helmets and facemasks that are allowed in the NFL, most of which are to maintain safety and protection.