Don Hood

October 15, 2009

Don Hood 77

This 1977 card frightened me a little when I was a kid. In most baseball cards from those days, the subject looked directly at the viewer, or else was engaged in some sort of action on the field. More often than not, blue sky was visible. None of these norms are present in this representation of Don Hood. In fact, his pants provide the only evidence that he might be a baseball player, but even those could be part of the haphazard outfit of, well, a hood, an emaciated coke-frazzled hood, perhaps, who is waiting to issue threat-backed demands in a dank alley outside a rundown disco. I mean, what could be in his left hand behind his back? When I ponder this question, the possibility of the answer being a baseball ranks far behind such other possibilities as a broken beer bottle, a switchblade, or even a switchblade comb.

I always wanted a switchblade comb. (What, would you rather I delve into the subject of Don Hood? Don Hood had a lifetime 34-35 record after recording a loss [upon giving up two unearned runs due to a Buddy Biancalana error] in his last appearance in the very last game of the very last season of his decade in the majors.) They sold switchblade combs in comic books, but for some reason I never got my act together to send away for one. I didn’t have a pile of money lying around, I guess, and what money I did have I spent on purchasing Don Hood’s likeness in cardboard, along with thousands of others cards. Maybe I understood that somehow if I did send away for a switchblade comb, the reality of the object, as opposed to the unassailable hypothetical notion of it, would be weighted with disappointment. I can see how it would have gone: I’d have whipped it out a couple times at home, in front of my brother and parents, making like I was a tough guy with a blade and then using it to comb my hair (something I actually never did and in fact which was sort of impossible—I had snarled, curly, hippie-kid hair, and probably the teeth of the cheap switchblade comb would have started snapping off pretty rapidly), then I would have taken it to school and tried the gag there too, but both at home and at school the bit would be taken in by onlookers with glaze-eyed boredom. It wouldn’t have gotten any laughs. Then the device would have probably stopped opening or, more likely, would have stopped closing, thus nullifying its purpose, and it would have sat on a shelf until it fell behind a shelf or under a couch and maybe on the last day of our family’s life in the house someone would have found it and thrown it away.

So maybe it’s better that I never sent away for a switchblade comb. But why did I never save up for another of the comic book wonders for sale, the hover craft? Oh, how I would have soared.


  1. The card looks like a still from a surveillance video.

  2. How many hoods would Don Hood don if Don Hood would don hoods?

  3. Looks straight outta Starsky & Hutch

  4. So if the only whitespace on the card is your pants, I guess you have to put the signature right across the crotch, huh?

    Also, is it just me or does there seem to be some kind of sculpted head by his right elbow?

    What a weird card…

  5. Another vaguely unnerving Indians card from that same year seems as if it might feature the same clammy wall seen in this Don Hood card. Check out John Lowenstein.

  6. Lowenstein’s card looks like a photo on a sex offender registry website.

  7. He looks like he’d fit right in with one of the gangs in Michael Jackson’s Bad video.

  8. I’d like to think Don Hood is shivving somebody in an alley today, in honor of his 60th birthday.

  9. He’s got a rough and tumble Kenny Loggins look to him on that photo….

  10. Great post, Great card…
    Perhaps the most appropriate name and image Topps has ever delivered.
    Hood looks like an extra in a mid-70’s Scorsese film.
    My best friend, back in those days of Baio-coiffure-dom, had a switchblade comb – it was his prized posession. He never let me hold the damn thing for more than ten seconds.

    I was always about fifteen cents short of sending away for “onion gum,” or “itching powder.” Never did it, but what I really fantasized about were those x-ray specs. I still wonder, did they work?!?

  11. “Also, is it just me or does there seem to be some kind of sculpted head by his right elbow?”

    Wow, despite the fact that this is the type I would think only I would notice, I never would have noticed it if you hadn’t pointed it out. It almost looks like Hood’s head, too. And if you imagine the rest of the green background as part of the “sculpture,” it looks like the head is flying across the card from right to left at a high speed, with its trail partially obscured by Hood, but visible to the right. Trippy.

  12. When I got this card as a kid, I felt totally ripped off. As Josh mentions, there was very little to suggest Hood was connected with baseball at all. But it was just the Indians, so who cared anyway, right? That was pretty much my feeling.

  13. What’s Hood wearing?? some kind of satin disco jacket? It doesn’t even look like it’s a team jacket or anything related to baseball.

    I never liked the ’77 set, to bland for my taste. There’s a couple of nice cards but overall I not a fan of the set.

    Look at that crappy green dugout from the old Municipal stadium in Cleveland. God, what a depressing place/team that must have been to play for during the 70’s and 80’s.

  14. Just like it said inside the back cover in Argosy, that stick-on moustache really does match the men’s nylon fashion wig.

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