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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ball Player Passings: Fred Talbot, age 71

RIP, Fred Talbot…

He was a former American League Baseball pitcher from 1963-1970 with the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Pilots. He retired in 1970.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2013 at 02:06 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: obit

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   1. Mark Armour Posted: January 16, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4348351)
A memorable character from Ball Four, which did not treat him well. Unfortunately, this is what will dominate Talbot's legacy forever. I wonder what he was really like?

Rest in peace.
   2. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 16, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4348360)
A memorable character from Ball Four, which did not treat him well.

What happened in Ball Four? I don't remember him in the way I remember, say, Sal Maglie.
   3. Bruce Markusen Posted: January 16, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4348365)
As I recall, Bouton and Talbot did not like each other, to the point where they liked to pull pranks on one another. At one point, Talbot called Bouton a communist.

Bouton has always speculated that it was Talbot who critiqued Ball Four by saying that the writing "could gag a maggot."
   4. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4348366)
What happened in Ball Four? I don't remember him in the way I remember, say, Sal Maglie

You should look for references to Fred Talbert in the book
   5. The Tarp That Ate Vince Coleman Posted: January 16, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4348371)
Didn't Bouton prank him about a fan winning some money for a grand slam that Talbot hit?
Also, I believe Talbot was cited in Ball Four for telling Merritt Ranew he looked like a perch. A ####### perch.
   6. Alex Vila Posted: January 16, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4348374)
I don't think Bouton did it, but he was in on it.
   7. Sweatpants Posted: January 16, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4348375)
Very sad to hear of his passing, even though I really know him only as a character in the book. I actually thought he came off as one of the funniest people in it. I think my favorite of his lines was, "Aw, hell, I don't keep statistics. Whatever they send me, I just sign and send it back. Of course, I call them a few names first."
   8. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4348398)
Talbot is a memorable character. Not as lovable as the Goose, who also died not that long ago, but definitely a character to reckon with. Who was the player who got served with the paternity suit?
   9. Repoz Posted: January 16, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4348402)
I remember there was a Yankee game in the late 60's where Talbot came in to relieve...and got nobody out. It went something like Double-BB-Single-Single-Single-Single.

From then on whenever one of us had a bad outing in stick ball, wiffle ball or baseball...it was known as "I had Talbot".



   10. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4348411)
He was from Falls Church and had a big argument with Merritt Ranew, who was from Georgia, as to what part of the South was smarter; and made fun of Ranew's haircut. Bouton was scared of Talbot..he said that Talbot would not know the meaning of the word "quit" if he ever got in a fight with Bouton. Don't know why I remember this.
   11. just plain joe Posted: January 16, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4348430)
Bouton was scared of Talbot..he said that Talbot would not know the meaning of the word "quit" if he ever got in a fight with Bouton. Don't know why I remember this.


I thought that it was Gene Brabender who Bouton thought wouldn't know the meaning of the word "quit", but I could be wrong, many years since I reread Ball Four. People are right though, Bouton and Talbot did not care for one another, just too many differences between the two to reconcile, I suppose.
   12. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4348439)
Google their names together, though. There seems to have been something of a qualified rapprochement.
   13. Benji Posted: January 16, 2013 at 06:30 PM (#4348497)
In Bouton' s "I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally" a fan wrote to him saying he had a dice baseball league and the Fred Talbot card had only one way to retire a batter: "Triple Snake Eyes". Ever since, when the Mets have a really horrible pitcher I tell my brother "He'll get the Fred Talbot card." Last year it was Manny Acosta.

And I think that of all the Pilots that hated Bouton, Wayne Comer seemed to despise him the most.
   14. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4348521)
I thought that it was Gene Brabender who Bouton thought wouldn't know the meaning of the word "quit"

The Brabender quote I remember is, "Where I come from, we only talk for so long. Then we start to hit." Bouton was definitely scared of Brabender.
   15. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4348560)
"We were talking about what to call Brabender when he gets here. He looks rather like Lurch of the 'Addams Family,' so we thought we might call him that, or Monster, or Animal, which is what they called him in Baltimore last year. Then Larry Haney told us how Brabender used to take those thick metal spikes that are used to hold the bases down and bend them in his bare hands. 'In that case,' said Gary Bell, 'we better call him Sir.'"

From Ball Four.
   16. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 07:54 PM (#4348562)
Brooks Robinson has a favorite memory from that year, a story that Brabender would also tell himself. Brooks recalls, "We were out for dinner in New York one time, four of us, I think it was Gallagher's Steak House. The waiter was really obnoxious. We didn't leave him a very big tip. He came back to complain, and Gene stood up, put his hand on his shoulder, and said, 'How far do you want to get tipped?"


From the SABR entry on Brabender.
   17. Brian Posted: January 16, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4348567)
Talbot either asked Bouton or was asked by Bouton, can't remember which, "How do you hold your doubles?" after an outing where many two base knocks were allowed. Love that line.
   18. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 08:21 PM (#4348593)
The Brabender quote I remember is, "Where I come from, we only talk for so long. Then we start to hit." Bouton was definitely scared of Brabender.


Yes, he was. That comment was made to Bouton after they had had a difference of opinion on something--maybe politics (you can easily see Brabender as a you-know-what-type that is so prevalent right now, which is probably an improvement over what he was back then). Brabender started to lose it, and Bouton tried to soothe him, telling him, look we can have a disagreement and still be friends. That we disagree doesn't mean that I don't like you. Then Brabender made that comment. Bouton later finds out it was Brabender earlier in the season who had nailed his shoes to the locker room floor, torn the buttons off his shirt, and stretched his jocks to uselessness.
   19. AndrewJ Posted: January 16, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4348621)
Bouton has always speculated that it was Talbot who critiqued Ball Four by saying that the writing "could gag a maggot."

Fred Talbot was fluent in Valley Girl speech in 1970?
   20. Richard Posted: January 16, 2013 at 09:14 PM (#4348630)
Yes, he was. That comment was made to Bouton after they had had a difference of opinion on something--maybe politics (you can easily see Brabender as a you-know-what-type that is so prevalent right now, which is probably an improvement over what he was back then). Brabender started to lose it, and Bouton tried to soothe him, telling him, look we can have a disagreement and still be friends. That we disagree doesn't mean that I don't like you.

They were arguing about whether you could get more strikeouts in a game where many hits or walks were allowed than you could get in a low hit or walk game. Bouon's position that there were only 27 outs to get in either case. Brabender took a different view.

Bouton said the fan won 27,000 dollars as a result of Talbot hitting the Grand slam. The prank was to send a letter to Talbot, supposedly from the fan, enclosing a fake cheque for a thousand dollars. In actual fact, Talbot had to fly down to Oregon to meet the fan for publicity purposes, but made a loss as he had to pay for his own parking.

   21. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM (#4348663)
Thanks for the heads-up, Richard. It's been a while since I've re-read Ball Four, and the copies I have don't have an index.

Talbot seems to have died from cancer, and had a very ugly last few years, healthwise.
   22. Publius Publicola Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4348687)
Wasn't Talbot the one who nicknamed Bouton "ass-eyes"?

As I recall, Bouton didn't like him when they were Yankee teammates but Fritz peterson told Bouton he had matured some and that he would probably like him now, which turned out to be correct. Talbot was one of the funnier people in the book.

   23. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4348688)
Who will likely be the last character from Ball Four to die? Steve Hovley is only 68 years old.

Want to feel like time is marching on, whether we like it or not?

Jim Bouton will turn 74 in March.
   24. Publius Publicola Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4348690)
That comment was made to Bouton after they had had a difference of opinion on something--maybe politics


They got in an argument about if there was a highscoring game with a lot of baserunners, could a pitcher get more strikeouts in a game like that since he faced more batters and had more opportunities. Brabender said you could. When Bouton convincingly argued he was wrong, instead of admitting it, Brabender got mad and wanted to beat up Bouton.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4348694)
Wasn't Talbot the one who nicknamed Bouton "ass-eyes"?

No, I'm pretty sure that was Gary Bell.

Talbot was one of the funnier people in the book.

Agreed. Bouton doesn't present himself as liking Talbot exactly, but clearly he's interested in him as he talks with him a lot and writes about him a lot. I think Talbot comes across as a pretty cool guy.
   26. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4348699)
Jim Bouton will turn 74 in March.

Yikes! FWIW, at least the last time I saw him (at the Seattle SABR; when was that, 2007 or so?), Bouton was looking very trim and fit, as by every account he's always been, and he's never smoked. Forced to predict, I'd say Bouton's one of those guys who will last a very long time.
   27. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4348700)
Wasn't Talbot the one who nicknamed Bouton "ass-eyes"?

No, I'm pretty sure that was Gary Bell.

it was
   28. Publius Publicola Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:46 PM (#4348702)
Was what? Bell or Talbot?

I guts to know.
   29. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:06 PM (#4348716)
Bell called Bouton "ass-eyes" because he (Bell) said his (Bouton's) eyes were "too close together". How he came up with "ass-eyes" out of that, I've never understood

("Smoke 'em inside")
   30. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:14 PM (#4348720)
ikes! FWIW, at least the last time I saw him (at the Seattle SABR; when was that, 2007 or so?), Bouton was looking very trim and fit, as by every account he's always been, and he's never smoked. Forced to predict, I'd say Bouton's one of those guys who will last a very long time.


I think it would give Jim some satisfaction to outlive those guys who gave him a hard time.

(Those #### you, Shakespeare, dolts.)
   31. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:24 PM (#4348731)
In Ball Four plus Ball Five, Bouton recounts that he tried to talk to Fred Talbot:

When I telephoned Fred at his home in Virginia to ask what he was doing he said, "Well, I'm still living," and hung up. I didn't even get a chance to say I was glad.


   32. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:31 PM (#4348739)
Bell called Bouton "ass-eyes" because he (Bell) said his (Bouton's) eyes were "too close together". How he came up with "ass-eyes" out of that, I've never understood

No, no, it wasn't because Bouton's eyes were too close together, it's that Bouton's eyelids were compressed into a constant state of squint. The eyeball barely visible, as through the crack of the ass.

And if you've ever seen Bouton (or just pictures of him), you know exactly what Bell was talking about.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: January 20, 2013 at 11:44 PM (#4351615)
Read the June 20 entry in Ball Four for the prank pulled on Talbot. A classic. Bouton does say at the end:

Finally Talbot decided that it was Marshall and I who had sent the letter. Of course. Fortunately we were able to convince him he was wrong. I wouldn't want to fight him. As far as he's concerned the Marquis of Queensberry is some fag hairdresser.


   34. Morty Causa Posted: January 20, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4351618)
The June 22 entry sheds some light on Talbot's character, too.

I've been going through Ball Four. There are a lot of comments and notes on Talbot.

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