Saturday, July 2, 2016

That Time The Bulls Were The Phillies....

The Durham Bulls are one of the oldest Minor League teams around having started up in 1902 as an independent baseball team.  When the team was first fielded they were actually the known as the Durham Tobacconists.  Seems like a great name for a sports team from central North Carolina.  They quickly switch their name to the Bulls, Durham is the Bull City, and the nickname stuck for a few decades until the late 1960s.

In 1967 the Bulls became a Mets affiliate.  In 1968 the team name somehow got switched to the Raleigh-Durham Mets.  There are so many things that are not cool about this name.

Two minute soapbox:


  • First, naming teams after their Major League affiliate is acceptable in many cases, but never when it's a long running Minor League team.  The Toledo Mud Hens are the Mud Hens, Rochester is the Red Wings, Syracuse is the Chiefs.... The Durham Bulls are the Durham Bulls... 


  • Second, Raleigh is a city in North Carolina and Durham is a city in North Carolina.  The two cities make up two-thirds of the region know as the Triangle, with Chapel Hill being the remaining third.  The two cities are near each other, but nobody who actually lives in "The Triangle" actually calls it Raleigh-Durham.  I lived in Durham once and now I live south of Durham and west of Raleigh in neither city.  I don't live in Raleigh-Durham and calling a team by this name isn't cool.    

Really, the Durham Bulls bought out the Raleigh Pirates in 1968 and decided to split their home games between The Durham Athletic Park and Devereaux Meadow in Raleigh making the whole Raleigh-Durham thing slightly more palatable.  Still upset about the Bulls thing though.  

So, in 1969 the franchise picked up a new affiliation with the Phillies.  They kept the whole Raleigh-Durham thing, but changed their name to the Phillies.  The Raleigh-Durham Phillies were actually a good team finishing with a 79-62 record which placed them second overall in the Carolina League behind the Tigers Rocky Mount Leafs team.  

Which brings me to the most disappointing facet of the team not being named "Durham Bulls" during these few years.  In 1969 the Raleigh-Durham Phillies star player was an 18 year old first baseman whom the Phillies has drafted out of high school the previous summer.  The players name?  Greg Luzinski.  If you did not know, his nickname is "The Bull".  This seems like a marketing failure of the highest degree....

Luzinski even has Bull Barbecue Sauce now, which looks like it does not have enough vinegar in it to be the good North Carolina sauce (go Eastern NC BBQ!!), but still.....




Welp.  Enough about city names, team names, and nicknames.  Let's look at a card.  



As a former Durham Bull, err Raleigh-Durham Phillie, I have had some interest in finding cards of "The Bull".  While his common cards are fairly easy to find, and inexpensive, he does not have too many autograph or memorabilia cards.  I have actually been looking for one of these cards for the better part of half of year, but they are not too common.  A few popped up along the way, but they were often a little more than what I had hoped to pay for a Greg Luzinski autograph.  

Finally, this 2012 Topps Archives autograph was put up for auction.  There is so much to like about this card.  It's an on-card autograph and Luzinski has a really nice signature.  I also live that Topps put him in a powder blue uniform with the zip up front that the Phillies wore for a large part of the 1970s.  Perhaps one of those all maroon uniforms form 1979 would have made this slightly better, but this card is pretty hard to top....

4 comments:

  1. The only thing I dislike about this card, and Archives in general, is putting retired players on cards with the same day design as a set from their playing days.
    It could be very confusing for a young collectors to see the 1978 style card, with the uniform of the era, and believe it's from that year instead of a new issue. Another prime example of this is on the 2016 Archives Jim Palmer, which aside from not having the All-Star banner, is very similar to his 1979 card.
    Retired players should be depicted on cards that are different than their playing era. Why couldn't this card been done in a 1950's or 1990s design?
    I love Archives, (and a super collector of 1978) but this has always been a pet peeve of mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very good points. I kind of dig seeing the older players on the newer card designs and vice versa.

      Delete
  2. The only thing I dislike about this card, and Archives in general, is putting retired players on cards with the same day design as a set from their playing days.
    It could be very confusing for a young collectors to see the 1978 style card, with the uniform of the era, and believe it's from that year instead of a new issue. Another prime example of this is on the 2016 Archives Jim Palmer, which aside from not having the All-Star banner, is very similar to his 1979 card.
    Retired players should be depicted on cards that are different than their playing era. Why couldn't this card been done in a 1950's or 1990s design?
    I love Archives, (and a super collector of 1978) but this has always been a pet peeve of mine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Should have let me know I'm pretty sure I pulled that Greg Luzinski cardhttps://thesnortingbull.blogspot.com/logout?d=https://www.blogger.com/logout-redirect.g?blogID%3D7911511049033479555%26postID%3D2694428177740514381

    ReplyDelete