Tuesday, May 7, 2013

1980 TCMA Memphis Chicks Baseball #5, Greg Bargar

In the spirit of SBNation's recent additions to their Baseball Name Hall of Fame (class of 2013), I further recognize the cultural context of guys like Greg Bargar, complete with camelback hat and "aspiring wrestler" mustache. You know, for the Chicks. (Montreal's AA affiliate Memphis Chicks.)

While a fan of minor league baseball and interesting names, I'm of two minds on this team. A squad intentionally named the "Chicks" already borders on gaudy, but did you know they played in Tim McCarver Stadium, so named in 1968 for the Memphis native, then a pretty-good catcher, now (in)famous as Fox's tenured professor of broadcasting? A park that combined AstroTurf infield and outfield grass? There's your purported Memphis Chicks. I submit this team might not have actually existed outside the mind and pen of George Plimpton.

Wikipedia claims Tim McCarver Stadium was demolished in 2006. I propose it collapsed beneath the weight of self-aware expectation. (Will this wandering anecdote about the folly of designated hitters ever end? No...? *girder rending noise*.)

Greg's teammates from that 1980 Arizona team included future manager Terry Francona, durable lefty Craig Lefferts, and Casey Candaele, son of former AAGPBL outfielder Helen Callaghan. Casey and Helen are the only mother/son combo in pro baseball history, which is pretty cool. (To complete today's team name circle, AAGPBL's own "Chicks" debuted in Milwaukee and later moved to Grand Rapids.)

TCMA's 1980 Chicks team includes several Hall of Fame names in their own right; my sentimental favorite is #19. (Future big leaguers marked in bold.)
  1. Steve Lovins
  2. Charlie Lea
  3. Anthony Johnson
  4. Tom Gorman
  5. Greg Bargar
  6. Joe Abone
  7. Larry Goldetsky, Coach
  8. Larry Bearnarth, Manager
  9. Mike Gates
  10. Glen Franklin
  11. Ray Crowley
  12. Leonel Carrion
  13. Terry Francona
  14. Kevin Mendon
  15. Brad Mills
  16. Tony Phillips
  17. Pat Rooney
  18. Dennis Sherow
  19. Tommy Joe Shimp
  20. Bryn Smith
  21. Chris Smith
  22. Doug Simunic
  23. Bob Tenenini
  24. Grayling Tobias
  25. Tom Wieghaus
  26. Rick Williams
  27. Steve Winfield
  28. Frank Wren
  29. Bud Yanus
  30. Audie Thor, Trainer

Value: Non-star 1980 TCMA singles cost a dollar or two. Most team sets are under $20, but the title-winning success of Terry Francona might push this one close to that.

Fakes / reprints: TCMA reprinted several minor league sets for "collector's kits" later in the 1980s. Those reprints have black backs, while originals have blue.

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