Pistol Pete is probably the most remembered and spoken about Dodger player to not have made it really big. His name evokes memories of a player who could do it all. Reiser batted like a future MVP and fielded his position like a gold glover.
Unfortunately, he was also one of the most injury prone players to ever play the game, and it wasn't because he was made of glass. Instead, no one had less regard for his own well-being while playing the game than him. Pete Reiser hustled on every play, and often made ill-advised attempts that would cause significant injuries. In other words, he was as reckless as you can be.
Via a wikipedia entry:
Reiser gave great effort on every play in the field, and was therefore very injury-prone. He fractured his skull running into an outfield wall on one occasion (but still made the throw back to the infield), was temporarily paralyzed on another, and was taken off the field on a stretcher a record 11 times. Pete was once given his last rites in the ballpark.How insane is that? When was the last time you heard of a player receiving his last rites during a game due to his play? Has it happened at anytime in the last 50 years?
Anyway, Pete Reiser was truly gifted, and if not for his recklessness and a subsequent injury sustained to his shoulder while playing for an Army Baseball team during WWII, he might be regarded as one of the greats.
BTW, I won the photo at a recent RMY Auction. They are currently running their July 2014 auction that includes some great vintage press photos. Go here to check them out.
Below is a scan of the reverse of the photo. As you can see, it includes various markings a collector like myself looks for when deciding to bid. It includes a bold Cleveland News stamp, and remnants of a description sheet. Unfortunately, this photo was trimmed to size. Still, is looks great and presents well.
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