The Beckett Blog

In the Minors: But will they get baseball cards? by Chris Olds

This one’s definitely from the “kids, don’t try this at home” category.

You might know the Savannah Sand Gnats for having one of the coolest logos in baseball, but it was pretty hot on the basepaths Saturday night in Georgia.

That’s because stuntman Ted Batchelor rounded the bases … on fire.

I’m not going to even try to make sense of this minor league publicity stunt … but all I can say is if this doesn’t get him a baseball card in the Sand Gnats’ team set, I don’t know what would.

But we’re not done there …

If you’ve set foot in a Whataburger restaurant somewhere in the South, you have probably seen this iconic image of a company-sponsored baseball team somewhere on its walls.

It turns out it’s a Little League team from 1950 — and Whataburger recently reunited the members of the squad that it could find in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary at Whataburger Field, home of the Corpus Christi Hooks. (The San Antonio-based company opened its first restaurant in Corpus.)

Four players — Frank Thomas (No. 7), Howard Henslee (No. 6), John Simpson (No. 5) and Cliff Johnson (No. 13) threw out ceremonial first pitches at a Hooks game earlier this month. Each of them received a Whataburger jersey and a plaque featuring the photo.

“It’s a special feeling to walk into a Whataburger, point at the picture and tell my friends and family that’s me when I was a little boy,” Thomas said. “Being able to throw the first pitch and reunite with my former teammates has been a dream come true.”

With Whataburger so tied into the Hooks’ identity and community, why wouldn’t the Astros’ Double-a affiliate include the famous image on a card and perhaps updated first cards of the four original players?

After all, you’d be shocked what kinds of things show up in minor league sets.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


1 Comment so far
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Awesome. Give him a card for sure. One of those motion cards that you tilt.

Comment by LivingDedMan

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