Saturday, October 9, 2010

Reason #94 to Love Cleveland Sports: Don Mossi

Don Mossi was 25 years old when he joined the Cleveland Indians in the remarkable summer of 1954.  Understand that it was no small feat for a rookie pitcher to crack a staff boasting future Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Hal Newhouser, not to mention all stars Mike Garcia, Ray Narleski and Art Houtteman.  Riding that ridiculous collection of arms, the team won a then AL record 111 games to run away with the pennant.  Things didn't go so hot against the Giants that October, but I'm in a good mood so let's not go there just now.

For his part, all "The Sphinx" contributed in 40 games out of the bullpen was a 6-1 record with a team best 1.94 ERA.  Over a 12 year career as both a starter and relief pitcher, Mossi compiled a respectable 101-80 record.  He was a very good, at times superb southpaw who would get an all star nod 1957.  In other words, he had exactly the kind of career that is doomed to be forgotten.

But McBone celebrates Don Mossi not simply because of his significant tour as a Cleveland Indian, but because there has never, ever been a player, before or since, who looked like this:

Don Mossi was not a handsome ballplayer, even by baseball's lowly standards.  His face was an amalgam of ill-fitting parts, none meant to pair with the others.  Part Alfred E. Neuman, part Nosferatu, he made Yogi Berra seem devilishly handsome by comparison. 

But ears is where Mossi stands alone, unmatched in breadth until the end of time:

Just look those beauties.  I love how he never wore too big a cap in a lame attempt to hide his genetic gifts.  If anything, his hats were on the smallish side:

Indeed it is impossible to post too many pictures of them, even bedecked in Tigers/cowboy regalia:

Giant, sprawling, majestic.  No doubt his childhood was a misery of taunting and derision.  Probably his adulthood was too.  Undaunted, Don Mossi, rose above the name calling.  I imagine today he may even be thankful for those ears.  They, not his arm, not his record, are his ticket to immortality.



Kendra said...

Did you ever think the hats were extra large but just looked small in comparison?

Thank you for giving me a reason to smile about Indians baseball on this the day of Yankees dominance, yet again.

Mari ani said...

Wow, he had bigger ears than my great-grandma.

McBone said...

Kendra, we all need a good smile about now.

Mari, hahahahaha!


Cliff said...

Great pix. Here are some of his cards: