There's a surprise in every package

April 11, 1977

In the age of free agents, don't all baseball players wear three-piece suits and carry briefcases bulging with contracts in quadruplicate? Don't they all travel around with retinues of lawyers and accountants? Aren't all of them about as many laughs as Mrs. Astor? Not by a long shot into the visitors' bullpen. Rollicking among the new plutocrats are a whole bunch of eccentrics who would much rather give a hotfoot than a hot tip on the stock market, who prefer hijinks to high finance. Nowadays these chips off the old Gas House Gang are usually called flakes, and the following is a pictorial scouting report on some of the oddest of the oddballs. And beginning on page 44 is a profile of the weee-udest bird of them all.

In the flakes' all-star game, Atlanta Catcher Vic Correll—who is called Road Apple because he has a pet mule, Henry—and Phillie Jay Johnstone—who lights firecrackers in the clubhouse and does a Babe Ruth imitation by tucking a pillow in his uniform—await a Leephus pitch by Boston's Bill (Spaceman) Lee. If Lee's blooper gets bopped, he can call on K.C.'s Mark (Airhead) Littell for relief, comic and otherwise. On deck is the Astros' good-hit, no-field Cliff Johnson, who once took his bat to church to be blessed. Asked a team official, "Did he bring his glove, too?"

Asleep at second—where he once spent the night after going 0 for 5—is Expo Tim (Crazy Horse) Foli. The intellectuals' flake is Jim Colborn, a U. of Edinburgh alum who now pitches for K.C. But he made his rep in Milwaukee where he was known for wearing a mask and helping to sweep the infield. In the outfield are Cub hippie Joe Wallis, who hardly ever changes his clothes; Brewer Gorman (Perchman) Thomas, who likes to read in high, tight places—such as on the top of his locker; and John (Apathy) Lowenstein, the blasé utility man whose Cleveland fans have vowed not to write him letters or to attend any games.

THREE ILLUSTRATIONSROBERT GROSSMAN

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)