Anywho, in today's 24hr news cycle, that's already old news and a few great blogs have already covered the event - including Wrigley Wax and Mint Condition. So, I'm going to go with my regularly scheduled post today.
...mostly so I can keep my streak of posts with pop music references in the title going (3 strong!).
Conlon Collection continues to be a goldmine for my CATRC. Every time I think I've chipped out all of the players I need from it's checklists, I find a couple more hidden nuggets - including, this here Julio Bonetti card.
Julio was a pretty interesting, mostly forgotten character in the annals of baseball history. First off, he is one of only 7 Italian born Major Leaguers and the only one to play for the Cubs.
Initially coming up with the lowly Browns in 1937, he spent two seasons as a swingman for St. Louis with an ERA darn near 6 before the Cubs purchases his contract as minor league depth. Playing for the old PCL L.A. Angels in '39, he showed off newfound pinpoint control, at one point going 64 consecutive innings without allowing a walk and pitching a shutout with just 66 pitches! Where the hell did that come from?
Julio as a Cub in 1940
This surprising performance allowed him to break camp with the Cubs in 1940. But, his first start was the complete antithesis of his Angels performance - allowing three runs and four walks in just 1 1/3 inning for an ERA of 20.25. He never again appeared in a MLB uniform, getting just that singular game in a Cubs uniform.
Unfortunately for Julio, things only got worse from there. After another year and a half pitching for the Angels, Bonetti was accused of accepting a rather large amount of money from gamblers for betting on horses. In an era not that far removed from the Black Sox scandal, he was quickly banned for life, despite never actually being charged with betting baseball or fixing games. He fought the decision until his dying day in 1952, when a heart attack claimed his life at the age of 40.
Julio joined these two as Cubs to be banned from baseball for gambling/game fixing
So, even though his entire Cubs career spanned an inning and some change, this card still slots nicely into my CATRC. A Cub is a Cub, no matter for how long and I'm always happy to check another name off of the list.
It's a shame that his career and then his life both came to such an abrupt end. Don't gamble, kiddies!
Instead, grow out an impressive black, bushy beard, build up enough arm strength to muscle 96 mph fastballs in the 9th inning, sport a mustachioed pajama onesie in press conferences and be Jake Arrieta. Unless you can be Batman, always be Jake Arrieta!
That man is a beast.