Monday, April 4, 2011

1978 Memphis Chicks Baseball Match Box #5, Team Trivia

This is one of the more era-specific baseball giveaways I've seen, especially coming from a minor league team. Matchboxes usually mean cigarettes and cigarettes mean tobacco, which MiLB prohibited across the sport starting in 1993. These days, it's all programs and overpriced food!

Of the 5 questions on box #5, only 3 turn up easily via Google. The other two are somewhat esoteric--players living in Memphis in the 1970s--or need quality research, since Memphis rosters from the 1940s and 1950s prove tough to come by. (I suspect you could find answers locally back when these promos came out.) Questions below!
  1. What famous father and son combination is pictured here? (Father pitched for Chicks--son presently pitches for a major league team) Appears to be Ross Grimsley, Sr. and Jr.
  2. Name 3 former Chicks now living in Memphis who played prior to 1960 Answers in the update section below
  3. What former Chicks pitcher holds the record for the best winning percentage in a single season? (This is an all-time Southern Association record) From the Association's own records page, I suspect it's Glenn Liebhardt)
  4. What famous holiday and year did Russwood Park burn? Easter Sunday, 1960
  5. What two major league teams played there that day? Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians

Isn't it odd that Memphis, a franchise devastated by their ballpark burning down, would promote themselves with matches?

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Ed Watts for researching the first two questions!
  1. It appears the father/son combo is Ross Grimsley, Sr. and Jr. The father played for Memphis 1952-53 and 1979 Hostess #5 shows some of his son's pitching record.
  2. Ed suggested four possibilities, given players who pitched for--and died in--Memphis : Sammy Meeks (1952-54, d.2007), John Antonelli (1935, 1948-49, d.1990), Ed McGhee (1950-52, 1955, d.1986), and the aforementioned Grimsley, Sr. It's an intriguing question, if hard to narrow down to 3.

Value: Found this for $1 at the 2010 National in Baltimore. Not sure if there's a larger market for matchbooks, beyond better-known sets like the 1935-6 Diamond Match Co.

Fakes / reprints: Doubt someone would ever fake a matchbox.

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