Cieradkowski: Joe Bauman, seventy-two steroid-free big ones

From SABR member Gary Cieradkowski at The Infinite Baseball Card Set on January 21, 2018:

Joe put the gas cap back on the ’52 Mercury Monterrey, and wiped his calloused hands on a rag he pulled from his back pocket. Two wide-eyed young boys, their opened mouth, freckled faces smashed against the back window, followed his every move from the back seat. A light, warm late-afternoon breeze made the enamel Texaco signs mounted above the gas pumps squeak rhythmically.

The driver stuck a pair of dollar bills through the open window and craned his head to look up at the tall gas jockey. “You gonna hit one out tonight, Joe?” Adding the two singles to the thick folded wad of greenbacks he pulled from his pocket, Joe replied “You know I’ll do my best, Frank.”

As he watched the Merc pull back onto Second Street, the bell above the office door jingled behind him. “Joe, it’s 5” his wife called from the open door, “you better head to the ballpark.”

That’s how it went in Roswell, New Mexico, in the summer of 1954. The Roswell Rockets star first baseman would put in a full day’s work pumping gas at one of the Texaco service stations he and his wife Dorothy owned, knock off at 5 and spend the evening chasing baseball’s most elusive offensive record.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 22, 2018. Last Updated: January 22, 2018.