And in still more news regarding hockey and hands, Uni Watch was fascinated to hear about former Rangers goaltender Dan Blackburn's recent minor-league stint with the Victoria Salmon Kings (whose jersey logo, incidentally, is barely a third-rate stick figure compared to Scrappy). Blackburn suffered nerve damage in his left shoulder in 2003, which left him unable to manipulate a goalie's catching glove. So he has been wearing two blockers, but the one on his catching hand is fitted with a small inner glove that he can use to freeze the puck and catch dump-ins.
Blackburn's dual blockers make him the spiritual heir of former Canadiens netminder Bill Durnan, who wore two catching gloves and shifted his stick from one hand to the other. (He was also the rare NHL goalie to wear the captain's "C", a practice now prohibited by Rule 14(d).)
Uni Watch doesn't know whether Blackburn believes in synchronicity or omens or any of that stuff, but maybe he should: Durnan won six Vezina Trophies in a seven-year span.
Masks' Last Gasp
It took a while, but Uni Watch has finally procured a photo of Pirates slugger Dave Parker wearing a hockey goalie mask attached to his helmet. And it was worth the wait check it out.
Parker wore this mask while pinch hitting in the first game of a doubleheader on July 16, 1978 his first plate appearance after breaking his cheekbone 16 days earlier. He was intentionally walked, and in the nightcap he switched to a football facemask, which he continued to wear for most of the rest of the season.
With Parker's goalie-style photo finally in hand (XXXL-sized thanks to readers John Oswald and Barry Riz, who provided the crucial info for tracking it down), our gallery of masked MLB players now appears to be complete. For those who missed the earlier installments, or who just want to see the whole roster in one place, here's the breakdown: In addition to Parker, we have Ellis Valentine, Gary Roenicke, Charlie Hayes, Kevin Seitzer, Terry Steinbach and David Justice.
That's almost enough to field a full team. But the equipment manager's gonna have his hands full.
Paul Lukas has always wondered why the cartoon world doesn't do math in
base eight. Archives of his pre-Page 2 "Uni Watch" columns are available here and here. Got feedback for him, or want to be added to his mailing list? Contact him here.