Old MLB Photos You Have to See to Believe
We know what Major League Baseball's greatest players look like doing the things that made them so great — fielding, hitting and pitching.
But sometimes we see a glimpse into the other side of how things were for these baseball legends, whether that was in candid moments at the ballpark or away from the field of play.
Here's a look at some vintage MLB photos that show a different side of Hall of Famers.
Let's All Turn to Page 37 in Your Civics Books
Ernie Banks hustled on the field and in the offseason during his career with the Cubs, giving back to the community. Banks, who was known as "Mr. Cub" and "Mr. Sunshine," appreciated the value of education and encouraged youngsters to stay in school at least through high school.
He had a love of learning, and this was his passion in life after baseball. Banks went back to school following his playing days, attending Northwestern, the University of Chicago and other schools.
Tell Uncle Satchel What You Want for Christmas
Before you judge Catfish Hunter, if Satchel Paige told us we had to sit on his lap before he'd talk to us about pitching, we would, too.
Paige was an ageless wonder with unlimited knowledge. Segregation delayed his major league debut until 1948, when he was 42, after years of dominating batters in the Negro, Mexican and Independent Leagues. Paige made his final MLB appearance in 1965 at the age of 58.
Six years later, in 1971, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first player elected by the Negro League Committee.
Stan the Man Wants to Make Sure You're Totally Satisfied With Your Order Today
Freddie Freeman made $22.5 million in 2020 on his way to National League MVP Honors.
After Stan Musial won National League MVP in 1943, he went to work at a shipping factory checking waybills.
Times sure have changed. Baseball players no longer have to get a second job in the winter to pay the mortgage.
Flossy, My Man, I Hate to Tell You This But the End Is Near
If you know anything about Babe Ruth, then you know his pet calf Flossy wasn't long for this world. Ruth had a farm in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and loved animals and the outdoors.
Even though he was deemed "incorrigible" as a kid at the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage in Baltimore, The Sultan of Swat was just a big country boy at heart — with a big heart.
Does This Look Like a Man Who is Sulking?
Ted Williams never had more swag than right after he was fined $250 for "sulking and loafing" by the Red Sox in 1942. Which we kind of like.
No one really got Williams for the longest time. He may have been one of the most misunderstood athletes of any time. All he wanted was to be the greatest hitter who ever lived. To this day, it's still tough to argue with that.
But he was much more than just a ballplayer.
Most People Just Get Ice Cream
In the 1950s, most people at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital just got ice cream when their tonsils were removed. Mickey Mantle was not most people.
The big leagues had never seen anyone like the All-American legend before. And the game hasn't seen anyone like him since.
But as we learned after his playing days, even heroes have flaws.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Is that Rick Dalton playing Rick Cahill in "Bounty Law"? Nope, that's just Don Drysdale playing a cowboy in the ABC television series "Lawman" in the 1960s.
Drysdale grew up in Los Angeles and went to Van Nuys High School, where legendary actor Robert Redford was one of his classmates.
Drysdale took advantage of being right next door to Hollywood while pitching for the Dodgers and had 17 acting credits on television.
The Man With the Golden Bat
Little known fact from the 1970s was if Roger Moore hadn't stepped into the James Bond role, Hall of Famer Rod Carew was the next man up.
Instead of saving the world, Carew became one of the greatest hitters in baseball hitter.
You can still call him 328. That was Carew's lifetime batting average.
All Hail the Queen
Johnny Bench greets Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during a game at Dodger Stadium in 1970. Which is pretty awesome.
Bench caught her first pitch thrown for the East-West All-Star Game in Los Angeles. The game was a benefit for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Dr. King Memorial Center in Atlanta.
Some People Thought Frank Robinson Had a Death Wish
Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver wasn't someone who liked to joke around a lot. Unless it was with Frank Robinson. Then it was totally fine.
But there was nothing better than an ornery Weaver cussing and hollering like a raving lunatic. His command of four-letter words was Shakespearean. Even when you were on the receiving end of it.
Ask umpire Bill Haller.
Defying the Laws of Physics, One Moustache at a Time
What do you think Rollie Fingers put in his mustache that made it so you could pour two entire bottles of champagne on it without moving?
Check that. We don't want to know.
Mike Schmidt Has Some News for You
Mike Schmidt tried to explain to Marvin Miller that if this baseball thing didn't work out he had another career as a stuntman on tap.
Good thing for every fan of the game that baseball did work out. The Phillies slugger went yard the old-fashioned way before PEDs changed everything.
We'll never know if he could have doubled for Chuck Norris. But Schmidt still was a decent pitchman, and you gotta love those 1980s commercials.
All the Swagger in the World Can't Stop This Crew
It's all been downhill since the day Ed Marinaro and Joe Namath met Reggie Jackson in Miami to shoot a commercial.
Not just for those three.
For society in general.
Whitey, Tell Us How You Feel About the Media
White Herzog is also a member of the Hall of Fame for Facial Expressions Made When Sportswriters Asked Him Stupid Questions.
On a side note, who else misses old-school baseball stirrups?
Before He Was America's Favorite Grandpa/Manager
Before Joe Torre became American's favorite grandpa/manager in 57 seasons (or 12) coaching the New York Yankees, he was a major league player in the 1970s.
This was the era of disco and bell bottoms. It also was New York's golden era for nightlife. And this picture sums everything up pretty perfectly.
Can You Bet on a Reality TV Show?*
Pete Rose isn't in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but we're in the camp that thinks he should be. That's why he's here in a story about Hall of Famers.
And in the 1970s, people were bored enough that watching Charlie Hustle lift weights was considered entertainment.
Hey, it beats some of the things considered "entertainment" these days.
Thank You for Being a Friend
The Philly Phanatic had a hard time expressing himself before he made friends with Lou Brock. Then he really came out of his shell.
Who benefited from their friendship?
Just the entire world.
My Fastball Is Faster Than Your Fastball
If you're going to be in a duel, make sure you bring your heater. Bob Feller had seniority on Nolan Ryan in 1980. Little did he know, Ryan had another 13 seasons in him on his way to recording more strikeouts than any pitcher in major league history.
Nolan Ryan finished his 27-year career with 5,714 strikeouts and averaged 9.5 K's per nine innings. Bob Feller had 2,581 career strikeouts and averaged 4.1 K's per nine innings over 18 seasons.
You can't stop "The Ryan Express."
We Have So Many Questions
We'd really like to hear the story about how New England Patriots tight end Russ Francis and Hall of Fame relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley ended up in this photo with Sen. Ted Kennedy.
It was a campaign event for Kennedy, who ran for president of the United States in 1980.
There could an oral history alone on what happened after this photo op was over.
Here's How We Create the Strongest Union in Sports
Who doesn't love a good cup of coffee when figuring out how to revolutionize professional sports with multimillion-dollar contracts?
Nolan Ryan, Joe Niekro and every major leaguer could not have done it without Marvin Miller, who served as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 through 1982 and turned the baseball players' union into one of the strongest collective bargaining units in America. Miller was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020 for his efforts.
To change the game and force changes from ownership, Miller guided MLB players through strikes in 1972, 1980 and 1981 and lockouts in 1973 and 1976. In this 1980 photo, he was preparing for a meeting about the "reserve clause" with players and owners in New York. The reserved sign at the coffee shop was not an effort by the management to speed negotiations.
In Praise of Good Hair, Damn Good Hair
Robin Yount was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He also had some of the greatest hair of all time. Just look at those beautiful, sandy blonde curls.
Paul Molitor could not match Yount's hair game. But they had very similar Hall of Fame careers in the baseball department.
The big difference is that Molitor won a ring and took home a World Series MVP.
You Don't Want That Smoke
Every now and then, Dave Winfield had to choke an opposing player to reset the natural order of things.
On this night, Oakland A's catcher Mike Heath picked the wrong tree to climb.
Gary Carter Saved Some Lives That Day
Had Gary Carter not held back Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell that day, the Atlanta Braves franchise may have just vanished off the face of the earth.
It's a good reminder that the world needs more peacemakers.
Is That Danny Glover? Wait, We're Being Told That's Andre Dawson
Few people know that the character of Sergeant Roger Murtaugh played in the "Lethal Weapon" film franchise was inspired by Hall of Famer Andre Dawson.
Dawson didn't just look like Murtaugh, who was played by Danny Glover, but he also was a no-nonsense family man who always strived to do the right thing.
Today, Dawson runs a funeral home in Miami.
Things Are a Little Different in the Netherlands
Anytime Bert Blyleven did something weird, he could always blame it on being from the Netherlands.
Then again, one person's weird is another's normal.
And this is one impressive move.
There's a Story Behind That Jar
We all know the story about Rickey Henderson and the $1 million check he refused to cash.
We don't all know the story about Rickey Henderson and how he ended up with the tip jar from a Shakey's Pizza next to Oakland-Alameda County Stadium.
This was before the days of crowdfunding, so one spring training, Rickey's A's teammates collected some money (as a joke) to get him to come back to camp, which he was protesting until his contract was renegotiated.
What Pudge Wants, Pudge Gets
Carlton Fisk had it written into the fine print of his last contract with the Chicago White Sox that he could ride his motorcycle around Comiskey Park for at least one day per week for the rest of his life.
When "The Commander" retired in 1993, he got another new motorcycle to start his post-baseball journey. That ride has included a lot of honors — number retirements (72 with the White Sox, 27 with the Red Sox), Hall of Fame inductions, statues and more.
And the ride continues.
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
Nolan Ryan kept pitching after Chicago White Sox batter Bo Jackson hit a short hopper back into his face.
A few years later, other members of the White Sox did not get off as easy. Most notably, Robin Ventura, whose face met Ryan's fist multiple times in one of the classic "dad" beatdowns in sports history.
Ryan's toughness and longevity were legendary. Like the late rapper Big Pun put it in his song "Banned From TV": I been sonning ... so long I think I got a grandson.
Summing up the 1990s in a Single Picture
If you Google "1990s," this picture of Ken Griffey Jr. at the opening of the All-Star Cafe usually pops up.
And why not? The '90s are remembered as a decade of relative peace and prosperity. Some have even argued that it's the best decade ever.
All that's up for discussion, but there's no debating the collective power of Griffey, Andre Agassi, Joe Montana Monica Seles, Shaq and Wayne Gretzky. This superhero team could give the Avengers a run for the money.
Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Tom Glavine?
We feel like Tom Glavine missed a big opportunity by not also playing in the NHL after he was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1984, before future NHL Hall of Famers Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille.
Glavine grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, and was the Merrimack Valley's hockey MVP as a senior in high school. He made his debut in the majors in 1987 and pitched 22 seasons over three decades.
To this day, there still has never been a two-sport star who played in both the NHL and MLB.
If Only We Had Audio
The fact this picture of Fran Drescher and Jeff Bagwell even exists is good enough for us. But the backstory isn't bad, either.
Bagwell was giving the actress and comedian some throwing tips before she threw out a ceremonial first pitch on Uterine Cancer Awareness Night in Houston in 2002. Drescher is a survivor of uterine cancer and wrote the book "Cancer Schmancer."
She is 63 today, and although her thick New York accent and nasal voice have mellowed a bit, she's still going strong.