Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1970 #574 BOBBY BOLIN: MAGIC OR (IM)PERFECT TIMING?!

Here's a cool card exemplifying the short-lived Seattle Pilots organization: Bobby Bolin's card #574 in Topps 1970 baseball card set.
According to all the records I can find, Bolin never suited up for the Pilots in their one year of existence in 1969.
However here we have him in a Seattle Pilots uniform.
Huh?
He did in fact play with the Milwaukee Brewers during their inaugural season of 1970. But nowhere can I find any proof that he was part of the Pilots organization.
However, it seems that the image was taken during Spring training, 1970, right before the Pilots were relocated to Milwaukee during the first week of April, right before opening day!
If so, that's a pretty neat card considering the window of opportunity for Topps and this image was just a few weeks.
Just one of the crazy quirks regarding the one-year franchise that were the Seattle Pilots. Read more about them below.
As for Bobby Bolin, he was a decent pitcher who could start and relieve, putting together a decent 13-year career playing for the Giants, Brewers, and Red Sox.
In 1968 he posted a 10-5 record for San Francisco with a sparkling 1.99 E.R.A. during the "year of the pitcher", but 1965 was probably his best year in the "Bigs", as he went 14-6 with a 2.76 earned run average as a spot starter.

Bolin in a uniform he'd never wear during an "official" game.

If you don't already know, the Seattle Pilots went into 1970 Spring Training under a cloud of financial problems, and at one point the team was almost folded, allowing all players to become free agents.
But unbeknownst to most people, including some of the owners, front man Dewey Soriano had secret meetings with Milwaukee car dealer Bud Selig during the previous Autumn and agreed to sell the franchise so Selig could return Major League baseball to the Milwaukee area.
Apparently the other owners were NOT happy about this, as well as Washington State's two senators, and other ownership option, which would keep the Pilots in the Northwest, were anxiously sought.
But after some legal wrangling between owners and local politicians, a judge ruled that the sale would be official, leaving the new ownership scrambling to field a team in time for opening day just five days before opening day!
Can you imagine this happening today?!
So here we have a franchise that actually started a season in one city and move on to another during the year!

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