Friday, March 16, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Marv Throneberry, Oriole #173

"Marvelous" Marv Throneberry played seven seasons in the Major Leagues between 1955-63 and is remembered for his occasionally inept fielding, especially during his time with the 1962 Mets, who were an all-time MLB worst 40-120 record. His nickname was a humourous knock on his play, but from all accounts, he took it all in stride, and even had a 5,000 member strong fan club.

Marv was one of the best minor league power hitters during the mid 1950's and made his MLB debut by playing in a single game for the 1955 Yankees. He returned to play for the Bronx Bombers in 1958-59 and was a part of their '58 World Series Championship team. He was traded to the Kansas City A's after the '59 season and was later flipped to the Orioles in the middle of the 1961 season. He made his Orioles debut on June 8, 1961 and played 65 games for the O's before being traded to the Mets in May 1962.

Many of the funny stories about Marvelous Marv come from his season plus with the Mets, and typically involved or were told by his manager, Casey Stengel. The most famous tale tells of a game in which Throneberry tripled but was called out for not having touched second base. When Stengel went out to argue the call, the umpire supposedly said "Don't bother arguing Casey, he missed first base, too." 

Marv's defense at first base was also an issue, and his .981 fielding percentage in 1962 was not equaled by another other Major Leaguer until Cesar Cedeno matched it in 1979. 

He retired after the 1963 season at just 29 years old, and later went on to star in commercials for Miller Lite that poked fun at his troubles on the baseball field. Here's one if you would like to check out his acting skills.

Marv's only Orioles card was his inclusion in the 1991 O's Crown set, which came out a few years before his death. It's possible that he signed a few copies before passed away, although I have yet to see one. For now, I'm pretty happy with my Orioles signed postcard/Mets baseball card combination, but I will hold out hope to come across a signed Crown card one day. 

He died of cancer on June 23, 1994; he was only 60. RIP Marv, thanks for the memories! 

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is a few pennies short of a dollar, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible."


Paul Hadsall said...

I'm a little bit sorry that I'm not old enough to have seen Marv Throneberry... he's more or less passed into legendary status, and I wonder how exaggerated those Mets-era stories have gotten over the years.

Orioles Magic said...

Paul- It sounds like he was certainly an interesting character, to say the least. I bet he and Stengel were a riot together.