Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dick Cole: That's his name, don't wear it out

GNIB salutes players who have names that are, in retrospect, unfortunate. With the proliferation of the modern slang word "dick," a great many figures from the recent past have, unfortunately, become wiener jokes1. 1950s utility infielder Richard Roy Cole, better known as Dick Cole, could be added to that long list.

Cole was a passable defender, but he carried a light stick, as his career .249/.322/.312 attests to. Dick signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1943 as a 16-year-old kid. He would spend the next seven seasons in the minors before debuting with St. Louis in 1951. The Cardinals promptly traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates after 15 games. Cole would spend most of his career with Pittsburgh as a backup infielder, though he started most of the 1954 season at third base and shortstop. After a brief and unfortunate stint with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957, Dick Cole was out of baseball.

His appearance on this blog stems solely from what his name sounds like when you say it quickly. Some clever Wikipedia editor played on this by beginning a sentence with the phrase "[Dick] Cole wasn't plugged..." Perhaps that's innocent verb usage and I'm imaging something that isn't there2.

The real truth is that the glasses and baseball uniform were just an act; Dick Cole was actually a hunky ubermensch of sorts. When not on the field, Dick Cole could be found whipping Scar from the 'Lion King', corraling bucking broncos and, um, playing baseball. He was the all-American hero, and he's still alive today3, probably kicking communist Chewbacca in the face.

1 Like him. And him. And him. And especially him.1A

1A This also applies to people whose last names are unfortunate, given certain events.

2 Journalism schools teaches copy editors to think with a dirty mind to avoid embarrassing mistakes.

3 This Dick Cole is 85 years old. The Dick Cole comics were popular around the time the baseball player started playing the professional game.

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