14 August 2012

a reese by any other name...

[this is my round 2 entry in nacho grande's blog bracket contest.  thanks for your votes in the previous rounds!]

when we card collectors first met the reds' second baseman featured on the 2001 topps stadium club below (for me it was 1992), he was known as calvin.
then, sometime around 1994, a few cards started to come out with his name shown as pokey.  by the time he made his big league debut in 1997, he was all pokey, all the time.  now this wasn't as strange to me as tim raines becoming 'rock' or dwight gooden becoming 'doc', because i didn't know anything about him and probably didn't even realize that calvin and pokey were the same person at first.  still, once i figured out that pokey was calvin, it brought to mind the confusion i had in the late 1970's when the former dodger pitcher eddie solomon
suddenly became buddy solomon.
what happened?  how did eddie become buddy and why?  did he legally change his name? was it an error card?  i didn't consider the possibility at the time that it was just a nickname, yet i didn't give any thought to the fact that yogi berra was not called 'larry' on his 1973 manager card or babe ruth was not recognized as 'george' on his 1973 and 1976 cards that i had in my collection.

i suppose that by the time calvin/pokey rolled around, i was much more aware of nicknames on cards, thanks in part to the well documented (and somewhat strange) changes that raines and gooden made to their names on cards.  and, once i figured out that it was the same guy who had previously been known as calvin, i cut him some slack.  after all, i thought that maybe he was just  emulating another baseball player with the same last name - harold, that is. 
we know him better as 'pee wee', so why not know calvin as 'pokey'?

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