Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Vintage Editorial Cartoon of Pete Reiser by Karl Hubenthal

Check out this fantastic original sports editorial cartoon created by the legendary Karl Hubenthal that I found on eBay.  It features former Brooklyn Dodger Pete Reiser, and celebrates his ascendancy as an coach for the LA Dodgers.  It likely dates from the early part of 1960.  (Click on the pic above to embiggen)

As you know, Reiser was one of the more popular and respected ballplayers in the game.  He played with everything he had, and often sacrificed his own body in the process.  Some might say he was reckless, but I think he was raised to never give up.  Leo Durocher said this of him:
"Pete had more power than Willie (Mays)—left-handed and right-handed both. He had everything but luck."
To prove that latter point, he recorded seven concussions and four fractures while on the field.  He was even given his last rites during a game.  Throughout nearly his whole career he was also hampered by a severe shoulder injury that he got whole playing ball for the Army during WWII.
"It wasn't as serious as the head injuries but it did more to end my career. The shoulder kept popping out of place, more bone chips developed, and there was constant pain in the arm and shoulder."
After retiring from playing he joined the Dodgers coaching staff.  He initially managed in the minors then served as a coach for Walter Alston in the early 60's.  Later on he joined Leo Durocher's staff in Chicago.

As for the cartoon above here are some excerpts to enjoy.
  •  With Pete directing traffic, L.A. runners are bound to reflect the competitive fire he used to display on the basepaths...
  • Injuries plagued Reiser throughout his playing career - He tangled with almost every fence in the curcuit - Collecting seven concussions and four fractures!!
  • The ex-outfielder's greatest help to the Dodgers will be as a batting coach... His lifetime average in the Majors was .295.
The drawing was created by Karl Hubenthal.  For decades you could find his work within the pages of the Los Angeles Examiner/Herald Examiner.  Over his career he earned five Pulitzer nominations, the National Headliners Award and the Helms Foundation medal.

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