Friday, October 13, 2017

Great Scott!


Christopher Lloyd is a treasure when it comes to American cinema.  Whether you know him from his iconic role as Doc Brown in the Back to the Future franchise, the ultimate cartoon baddie in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the mischievous Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, or any one of his other countless, grade-A performances, Mr. Lloyd has likely made an impression on you.  For me, personally, his portrayals of Al in Angels in the Outfield and "Sleepy Bill" Burns in Eight Men Out were a pair of my personal favorites growing up.  On that note, did you know that these two characters are not the man's only connection to our nation's great pastime?  Did you know that Christopher Lloyd actually took the field on the professional level?




Okay... so, not exactly...



I don't know about you, but it's impossible not to make that connection, at least in my screwed up brain.  For the record, when Loyd Christopher made his Major League debut in 1945, Christopher Lloyd was a scant seven years old.

Anyway, I recently picked up the 1950 Remar Bread single of the non-acting Christoher, Loyd on Ebay.  The slightly under-sized, super-vintage single has some flaws - most notably, some dark spots, rounded corners, and a black mark in the upper left portion of the border.  However, otherwise, the sepia-toned single is in pretty decent condition for a 67-year old slip of cardboard which originally came packaged with loaves of bread.  Plus, while this Loyd never made it to the silver screen, he did make it onto the game's grandest stage, the Major League diamond, and did so with the Chicago Cubs.  As an obscure, war-era need for my CATRC, he has not been easy to track down.  Thus, when I saw this Remar on "the Bay" I knew I needed to pull the trigger.




When I saw that it's listed BIN price was a mere $1, I think I clicked so hard that I almost broke my mouse.  Granted, I did have to pay a little too much for shipping; but, for four dollars total, I think I did pretty well in snagging one of Christopher's rare cardboard appearances.

From 1945-50, the Oakland-based Remar Baking Co. put out an annual set of baseball cards, paying tribute to their local Pacific Coast League club, the Oakland Oaks.  IN case you were curious, Remar operated from 1922 until 1988, at the corner of 46th street and Adeline, before it was absorbed by Wonder Bread.  Around the turn of the 21st century, the old Remar building was abandoned by Wonder and the structure was converted into lofts.  Now, where bread once rose, people now rise to make their morning commute.


Image courtesy of Sanfranman59


Luckily for me, after his time spent in the Majors, Loyd Christopher came to Oakland, where he starred for five years in the California sun and appeared in the 1950 set.  As you can see from the vital stats provided on the back of this Remar single, Christopher was a decent power hitter.  Also on the back is some advertising copy for the bakery, encouraging friendship and listenership, alongside a drawing of Remar's Sunbeam bread.  All in all, it's your standard, quaint fair when it comes to old school minor league sets.

This is actually the second Remar single to make it into my collection.  A few years ago, in the early days of this blog, Stubby - the famed blog reader/commenter - graciously sent me the first such card to enter into my collection:




Loyd's Oaks teammate, Gene Lillard, had a card in the 1947 edition of Remar baseball cards and, as you can see, the design for the sets didn't change all that much, from year to year.  All in all, these under-sized oddballs make from great, off-the-beaten-path additions to my CATRC, especially because these two men don't have much of a cardboard footprint, otherwise.

Meanwhile, now that we have a better understanding of Remar cards, maybe it's time we dug a little deeper in regards to the original subject depicted - Loyd Christopher.




Loyd Christopher with the White Sox, circa 1947, and Christopher Lloyd messing up the White Sox in Eight Men Out.



His pro baseball career started off with a bang in 1938, when he smacked a home run on the first pitch he ever saw.  It was certainly a grandiose start to what would ultimately be a long career in affiliated baseball.

After a few years in the Yankee chain, the outfielder shuffled from the Yanks to the Red Sox via the Rule 5 Draft, prior to the 1945 season.  After eight games of action and four hits in limited duty with Bostonians, Loyd was ruled as surplus and allowed to depart on waivers to the Chicago Cubs.  In the midst of their last pennant winning season until 2016, the Cubbies held onto Christopher for a month and a half and, yet, he only made it into a single game for the eventual NL Champs.  On May 30th, against the New York Giants, Loyd ran out to left field as a defensive replacement and played the last two innings of an 8-6 loss without a single ball hit his way.  He ddi not make a plate appearance.  Weeks later, without any further action, he was farmed out to their PCL affiliate, the Los Angeles Angels.

And, it was in the Pacific Coast League where Loyd would spend most of the rest of his career.  After a brief cameo with the White Sox in 1947, the book was officially closed on his Major League stat line.  After three seasons with the Angels, the California native took his talents to Oakland from 1948-52, before injuries forced him into retirement.  After an aborted comeback attempt in 1955, Loyd officially hung up his spikes for good.




However, though his time as a player was through, Loyd's time with the sport was far from over.  Shortly after his final season, he began an extremely successful second life as a scout, a role in which he served several organizations from 1957 right up to his 1991 death from prostate cancer.  Along the way, Mr. Christopher was able to get such luminaries as Dennis Eckersley, Dick Tidrow, and Carney Lansford to sign on the dotted line.

He may not be a heralded today and I may have hard time keeping his name straight, but Loyd Christopher was a baseball lifer - cut from the same cloth as Don Zimmer and Tommy Lasorda, but without the recognition.

With that, we have the story on Loyd Christopher - definitely not the same person who voiced The Pagemaster, one-game wonder for the Chicago Cubs, Pacific Coast League standout, and scouting extraordinaire.  Welcome to the Cubs All-Time Roster Collection, Loyd!

I'm still somewhat dumbfounded that this Remar Bakery single popped up on Ebay for chump change... it's a mystery worthy of Professor Plum!









6 comments:

  1. That's a great old card, and a great deal. I posted a Christopher Lloyd Eight Men Out card a few weeks ago, too.

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  2. Both of those cards are awesome! Lived in the Bay Area my whole life and never seen or heard of these.

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  3. Remar Bread. Yet another baseball card brand I'd never heard of. It's fascinating to learn about all the seemingly infinite foods/products cards came with back in the day. (And for the record, I tend to picture Actor Christopher Lloyd as the infamous "Sleepy" Bill Burns.)

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  4. That was a very fun read. Love the research that went into this post.

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  5. Wait this post isn't about me.... :)

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