When I was a kid, I remember having a set of baseball cards that were a bit unusual. It’s essentially a mashup of baseball players and monsters called Super Freaks by Donruss in the 1970s. A recent garage cleaning unearthed these invaluable (to me) cards. Nostalgia kicked in and I can’t bear to keep this to myself.
I don’t have the full set (note to self: next quest is to scour ebay and complete my set, thereby achieving The Joy That Knows No Bounds), but I have a good number of them.
The illustrations are top notch, and the baseball humor is quite good. Oh, what fun is in store for you, the gentle reader: a pitcher who nibbles (literally)!; an umpire so good he makes calls before the play is over!; a freak beaned in the head by a ball that went over the centerfield wall for a home run (take that, Jose Canseco!); a catcher who tends to look away just as the pitch is made!
So, without further ado, here are the ones I have:
Norris the Nibbler — A long time favorite freak. He is known far and wide for his constant nibbling; baseballs that is. It is really hard to complete a game with Norris around because he eats all the balls.
Arnie the Agile — A Super Freak in every sense.Arnie can catch any ball that comes within 20 feet without moving. Even though he is extremely quick on the basesball diamond… it takes him several minutes to sit down.
Shecky the Shortstop — Shecky is famous the world over for his quadruple plays (one for each eye). He has the unusual ability to watch three bases and the ball at the same time. He is a real hero with the clean-up crew.
Ozzie the Outfielder — Ozzie is a flashy freak. He has great ability to be alert at all times.The reason for this, of course, is because one head can sleep while the other thinks about playing ball.
Paul the Pitcher — Even though Paul is a pitcher, he sometimes plays catcher and he is terrific… who wouldn’t be with all those arms! He is a real threat when he is on the mound.
Slurp the Second Baseman — This freak will go to the Baseball Hall of Fame next year. There his tongue will be removed and hung in the trophy case to inspire all the second basemen around the world.What could be a better tribute to a freak who can catch a line drive with his tongue?
Sam the Switch Hitter — Sam can keep the best pitchers confused.As a matter of fact, he confuses himself, he fans and the umpires. If he didn’t have such a good personality, no one would tolerate him.
Oink the Ump — Oink has been an umpire in the Major Leagues for many years. He has the amazing ability to make a call before it actually happens. His lack of vision does not keep him from knowing just where the play is going to happen.
Benny the Base Runner — When Benny runs the bases, everyone is stricken with fear because he sounds like a stampede coming. Second and Third basemen have been known to run and hide when Benny gallops past first base.
Ollie the Outfielder — Ollie is an ex-bat boy, as anyone can see, who finally made the Big Leagues. Because of Ollie’s unusual abilities, rarely does a home run get past him.
The Bomber — This pitcher has one secret pitch no one can hit. If there is a full count on the batter, the next pitch he throws is the bomb.This pitch blows up the batter completely.
Hank the Hitter — Hank has the highest batting average in the Major Leagues.Any throw that comes close to the plate is certain to become a home run.
Richard the Runner — Richard has great speed and can slide link no other Super Freak. He can literally bury an opposing player when he charges a base. Incidentally, his roommate is Speed E. Freak.
Bo the Book-Maker — Bo was fired for betting many years ago, yet he still hangs around the stadium. He lives on left over hot dogs and popcorn and sleeps on the bleachers. Obviously, his diet doesn’t agree with him.
Sperry the Spit-Ball — Sperry can throw a spit-ball so wet that it has to be caught in a towel. He was voted the favorite freak of the year.
Nevin Nothing — Nevin’s biggest thrill in baseball was made his first year when a wild pitch him in the head and bounced over the centerfield fence. It took Nevin 15 minutes to run the bases in his dazed condition.
Ronnie the Reader — Ronnie the bookworm on the team. He plays centerfield so that he can read while playing. Even though his attention isn’t fully on the game, he seldom misses a pop fly.
Bob the Slob — Without doubt, Bob is the biggest slob in the Super Freak League. Rumor has it that he has not had a shower since he has been playing ball. He has been walked more than any other player because no one can stand to be close to him.
Harry the Hypnotist — Harry is a terrible pitcher, but he can hypnotize the batter and make him swing at anything that is thrown. Harry holds the record for continuous strike-outs.
Super Scooper — This freak is in the All Star ranks because of his ability to scoop up grounders. He is so good at it that he doesn’t even use a glove. He does, however, complain his toothpaste bill is too high.
Stupe the Second Sacker — This young freak was acquired from the Southern Freak Farm just last year and has become a favorite in a short time.With his exceptional vision, very little escapes his eyes.
Marvin the Mouth — The only accident that happened in Spring training was when Strike Out King threw his bat and it landed in Marvin’s mouth. Prior to this, Marvin could be heard for miles when arguing with the umpire.
Freddie Far-Out — Freddie is probably the freakiest freak of all. Being odd does not affect his playing ability. Freddie is extremely versatile and can play almost any position, including water boy.
Henry the Horrible — Henry announces all Super Freak ball games. He is well known for his colorful narrations, knowledge of the game, his relationship with all the players and his terrible looks.
Sam the Slammer — Sam swings the biggest bat in baseball.When he hits a ball, nothing is left but sawdust.The problem is that he rarely hits one. He holds the record of strike-outs.
Speed E. Freak — The fastest freak in baseball… he can actually run the bases twice while his ball is in the air. Opposing teams fear his fantastic speed.
Sylvester the Center Fielder — Sylvester’s main responsibility is to catch flies. HIs teammates know the only thing he can do well is attract them… probably because he washes his hair in ketchup.
Strike Out King — This guy has been struck out more than any other freak.The opposing pitcher knows the safest place to throw the ball is right under his nose. He tries to make friends, but just can’t mainly because he is just too nosey.
The Nose — This freak truly has a nose for the game. In fact, he uses it to catch those pop flies that other players find difficult to handle. He can smell a hit long before it happens.
Sammy Springer — Sammy was an All-American center on the Super Freak High School Basketball team. He switched to baseball last year and started at shortstop because of his ability to jump 20 feet into the air and catch any ball that comes by.Truly a Super Freak.
Pork E. Pine — No opposing player dares to slide into this guy’s base. In his twenty years in the Major Leagues. No one has ever gotten past him without getting the point.
Second Baseman — This player has an unbeatable way of firing a ball back to home plate. He uses a sling shot.The accuracy and speed is amazing. It is really tough for the opposing team to score a run when the ball is hit to this guy.
George the Glob — George has the unusual ability to cover a lot of ground in a short time with his four legs. Even though he is a Glob, he is a real asset in covering the outfield responsibilities.
Gavin the Goof-Off — Even though Gavin has four eyes, he has a tendency to look away just as the pitch is thrown.This is terrible for a catcher, but Gavin has so much to see.
Bernard the First Baseman — This guy plays ball with the spirit of a warrior. He guards first base like he owns it.A tough player to get past.
Alert Albert — Albert never pays attention to the game. He will look away anytime his name is called. Because of this, he has very few teeth left in his head.
Foul Ball Fred — This guy’s responsibility has been to scoop up foul balls and he’s been at it so long that he has become a foul character.The team keeps him around because he works for nothing.
Herman the Hideous — Herman is the most versatile freak. He can play any position… including the coach. He is so ugly that everyone ignores him other times. A Super Freak in every sense!
I hope you enjoyed these as much as I have. My favorites are Norris the Nibbler and Super Scooper. What would we do without cherished memories?