Friday, January 27, 2017

577th Place - Jim Acker

Card #678

You come across odd stuff sometimes when you're trying to dig into the lives of past cardboard icons.  Take Jim Acker, here.  I'm pretty sure this is his father's obituary.  It looks like he lived a good long life.  And I found his mother's, too.  It just seems weird that this kind of information is out on the internet for a random baseball card fan to stumble upon.  I certainly mean no disrespect by it.  I imagine they were quite proud of their son and all of his accomplishments.

Here's another interesting tidbit:  Acker is from the same small Texas town of legendary 1985 Chicago Bear Steve McMichael.  In fact, Jim and his brother went to the University of Texas with McMichael.  Jim played baseball there but his brother played football with him.  Again, weird random stuff on the 'net.

And I'm pretty sure this is Acker's daughter, a standout volleyball player at SMU who is now off to medical school.  Not surprising given her family's athletic pedigree!

Friday, January 20, 2017

578th Place - Eddie Milner

Card #677

Based on the cheap looking lumber running parallel to the right side of the card, I'm guessing this is a spring training dugout?

This is the first regular set appearance by Eddie Milner not in a Reds uniform.  After five seasons (more or less) as a starter for Cincinnati he was turned into a fourth outfielder type in San Francisco.  Milner got suspended for drugs before the 1988 season started, though.  He popped up in a handful of games at the tail end of the year, again back on the Reds, but never played in in the bigs again because of those addiction demons.  He spoke openly and honestly about those struggles.

Sadly, Milner passed away last year at the age of 60.  I tried and tried to find a cause of death but wasn't able to.  Rest in Peace, Eddie.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

579th Place - Joel Skinner

Card #109

I've always had a soft spot for Joel Skinner, thanks to his 1985 "Father and Son" card with his dad, Bob.  Bob was a pretty good ballplayer back in the day, managing a couple of All-Star team appearances and even MVP votes in two separate seasons.  At 85 years old he's still alive and kicking!

Joel was less successful, making a career as a backup catcher over nine big league seasons.  Like many ex-catchers, though, he's spent most of his post-playing days as a manager and coach throughout professional baseball. He even got half a season of work as the manager of the Cleveland Indians back in 2002 when Charlie Manuel lost his job in a contract dispute.  Despite a fairly successful stint Skinner didn't land that job permanently.  He most recently coached in Winston-Salem.