Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy Penguin Awareness Day!!!

Who invented Penguin Awareness day exactly?  I have no idea, but all I could think of while I was scouring Facebook and Twitter during my lunch break looking at five or six different goofy Penguin Awareness Day posts was the baseball player nicknamed "The Penguin".  I was an kid in the 1980s, so I was introduced to this penguin character towards the end of his career and remember him, as a player, more with the Cubs than the team he where he spent most of his career. 

I am talking about this guy........



It's actually kind of a shame that I only remember him as a Cubbie Bear.  As a St. Louisan, I do not have much love for the Cubs, but as a kid you have your summers off and the Cubs used to be on WGN almost every afternoon.  Cey was a short, squat third baseman who add some pop into the Cubs lineup.  Nice player, but I didn't really give him much attention.  

Sometime after I graduated college I decided to go back and find a bunch of the sets from the early 1980s and 1970s from before I started collecting in 1983.  There were plenty of big names in those sets that were great players when I collected.  I remember adding rookie cards of players like Cal Ripken, Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson, and Ozzie Smith.  I was proud and happy to add their early, and rookie, cards to my collection.  

The other thing that happened while I was adding those sets to my collection was I learned a lot about players I "missed out on" as a kid.  I had an older brother who collected, and my father liked baseball, so when I pulled a Reggie Jackson card as an early collector I knew it was good.  Other players slipped through the cracks.  

Gene Tenace was a back-up catcher for the Cardinals, Bobby Grich was an old guy on the Angels, and Ron Cey was the short squat Penguin guy on the Cubs.  I picked up those 1980s and 1970s sets and I learned about the players that were in them.  Gene Tenace was a really good catcher for the A's and Padres.  Bobby Grich was a really good player for the Orioles and Angels.  Last, but not least, Ron Cey was a really good player for the Dodgers.  

I am not going to sit and write a persuasive piece on getting Ron Cey into the Hall of Fame, but he was one of the better third baseman in the game during the 1970s.  He hit for power, got on base, did a good job fielding at third base, made All-Star Games, and also was a tremendous help to the Dodgers in the postseason.  During the 1981 World Series he took home the MVP Award.  

So, on this Penguin Awareness Day I am going to celebrate a talented Dodgers (and Cubs) third baseman and not the animal that lives in the Southern Hemipshere.  I am also going to encourage you to pick up a baseball card in your collection of a player you know little about and go see if you can learn something new about them.  You might just find you will appreciate them more in the long run.  

4 comments:

  1. Ron Cey just isn't Ron Cey when he's not a Dodger. He acknowledges as much with his autograph (No. 10 added with Dodgers cards, nothing with any other team). Thanks for celebrating my favorite player ever.

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  2. I have to admit that I used to really HATE Ron Cey. The Reds and Dodgers were both in the old National League West and the Dodgers were always their nemesis. The Dodgers had Cey, Russell, Lopes, and Garvey in the infield and I hated all of them. LOL

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    1. The Reds being in the NL West always baffled me as a kid. I figure some of those 1970s Reds/Dodgers games must have been pretty epic.

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