twice in a blue moon

by

If one can believe what they read on the internets, it would appear that John “Blue Moon” Odom’s intriguing nickname originated from one of his grade-school buddies named Joe Morris. As the story goes, Joe came up with the nickname because John’s round face reminded him of the moon. I failed to uncover any evidence suggesting that Joe Morris was ever tagged with an interesting nickname.

It would be an understatement to say that Odom was a dominating high school pitcher in the early 1960s given his 42-2 record and the fact that he hurled eight no-hitters. Major league hitters proved to be a little more challenging to “Blue Moon” during his 13-year career with the Kansas City and Oakland A’s, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves (1964-1976). Still, Odom managed to take a no-no into the 9th inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on June 7, 1968 only to have it broken up by Davey Johnson with a two-out single. Doesn’t it seem like that is always how it goes? “Blue Moon” combined with White Sox reliever Francisco Barios to no hit the Oakland A’s on July 18, 1976 to record the final victory of his colorful professional baseball career.

I wish the Major League Baseball channel would broadcast one of the games Odom pitched so viewers could be truly entertained- especially if they selected a game in which he swatted one of his dozen career home runs. (That’s right!)

One of the things I wanted to accomplish this off-season was to get some letters written and sent out to ballplayers I admired as a kid to thank them for their contributions to the greatest game ever played. If I was going to make the effort, I figured I might as well include a couple of their cards from my collection- just in case my letter caught them in a signing mood. When I finally got my act together, John “Blue Moon” Odom was one of the players at the top of my list.

odom_john_1975_topps_69

It is no secret that the 1975 Topps baseball cards are my favorites. As much as I liked John’s card (no. 69) before, I appreciate it ten-fold more now that he has taken the time to add his signature and mail it back to me. I would have preferred to have met him in person, but there was no telling how many stars would have to be in perfect alignment in order to make something like that even remotely possible. I suppose I could have sent him a couple of shiny stickers and asked him to sign his name on them so I could stick them anywhere on the cards that I pleased. I guess that is all the rage amongst kids today, but I might have misunderstood what that is all about.

odom_john_1974_topps_461

I probably have mentioned this previously, but when I study a baseball card, one of the things I think about is how it would look autographed. In my opinion, regardless of how nice a baseball card looks, it could be improved with an on-card autograph. Furthermore, until it has been signed by the player(s) depicted on it, the card isn’t “complete.” I had no doubt that “Blue Moon’s” 1974 Topps card (no. 461) would look fantastic with the addition of his John Odom. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result of the signature of the two-time All-Star pitcher, and like to imagine that he had to remove at least one of his THREE World Series rings in order to grip the Sharpie firmly with his fingers before signing.

Given the well-publicized fight between John “Blue Moon” Odom and Rollie Fingers just before the 1974 World Series, I dare say that John wouldn’t have bothered to sign my cards if he didn’t want to. He could have just as easily taken the cards I sent him and stuck them onto the spokes of his chopper, and recycled my SASE in order to take advantage of the free postage to send in his cable bill- and nobody would have said a peep. But John is a great guy, and seems to appreciate his fans.

Welcome John “Blue Moon” Odom to the Aardvark Attic of Appreciation!

– Kris

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