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Thread: Bullpen Cars

  1. #1
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    Bullpen Cars

    One thing that became fashionable in the 1960s and 70s and has now apparently faded from the scene is the concept of bullpen cars. These were vehicles that transported relief pitchers from the outfield bullpens to theinfield when they were called into games. Usually they were golf carts customized with an oversized baseball-shaped cab, but I think a few places used actual automobiles.

    Does anyone know when this first started and if any are still in use? If they are totally gone, what was the last team to use one? Anyone have pics?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg B. View Post
    One thing that became fashionable in the 1960s and 70s and has now apparently faded from the scene is the concept of bullpen cars. These were vehicles that transported relief pitchers from the outfield bullpens to theinfield when they were called into games. Usually they were golf carts customized with an oversized baseball-shaped cab, but I think a few places used actual automobiles.

    Does anyone know when this first started and if any are still in use? If they are totally gone, what was the last team to use one? Anyone have pics?
    Wasn't Mantle driven across the field in a pinstripe-mobile during at least one of the two days given in his honor? I've seen the photo in this forum.
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  3. #3
    The Yankees used an actual automobile for thier pitchers and I believe if I remember right it was a pinstriped Datsun.

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    Here's some good info (with pics).
    http://www.realcavsfans.com/showthread.php?t=9402

    I like the Mariners Tugboat. It says the Brewers were the last to use a bullpen car, in 1995.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomato View Post
    The Yankees used an actual automobile for thier pitchers and I believe if I remember right it was a pinstriped Datsun.
    I read a quote by Mike Flanagan once where he said he knew New York was tough because they told him to lock the doors of the bullpen car .
    Someone once posted the classified ad where the Yankees sold off this particular car.

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    It makes sense, as a lot of mlb players used to smoke....even in the dugout

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    The worst ever was the 1st year of the Vet - the bullpen cart was decorated like a firetruck. They changed that the next year after being laughed at by everyone else in the National League
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    (The Gossage segment is taken from "Watchdog" from Newsday.com)

    Rich Gossage Recalls the Late, Great Bullpen Car

    The Rich Gossage "CenterStage" on YES Tuesday night (August 12, 2008), during which Goose talks about the late, lamented tradition of the bullpen car. Well, it's lamented by fans, not necessarily players.

    Gossage recalls fans pelting the car in 1978 with bottles while he was being driven to the mound. It got so bad the groundskeeper used the windshield wiper, and the car had to be hosed down back in the bullpen.

    Also in '78, centerfielder Mickey Rivers jokingly threw himself onto the hood of the car one day when it was set to bring in Gossage. Rivers pleaded with the driver not to give Gossage a ride because he had been pitching poorly.

    Below is one of the die-casts made by Fleer of the bullpen buggies of the 70's.

    Dennis
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    Last edited by brooklyndodger14; 09-29-2008 at 12:05 PM.

  9. #9
    I used to work with a guy who owned the KC Royals bullpen car from the '77 season. It was a powder-blue '77 2-door Chevy Impala which he won in a raffle after the season. I actually got to ride shotgun from the airport after a business trip. I thought of all the butts that sat in my seat....Splittorff, Leonard, Colborn, Bird...

    He kept it in pretty good shape. I think he sold it 5 or 6 years ago.

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    Paul Lukas of espn.com Page 2 fame had a good article about them last year (you know, the same guy who just did a Shea article entirely based on stuff from this forum, lol) - anyway, here's some bullpen car pics he linked to (also at ipitch's forum link) -



    Mariners' tugboat (!), 1982 -






    And the Mets' buggy - hijacked during the NL East clincher in 1986 (former vendor did the deed) -



    ----------------

    Here's a few more -








    Mets' car again, 1977.




    Japanese version -


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    Quote Originally Posted by alpineinc View Post
    Paul Lukas of espn.com Page 2 fame had a good article about them last year (you know, the same guy who just did a Shea article entirely based on stuff from this forum, lol) - anyway, here's some bullpen car pics he linked to (also at ipitch's forum link) -
    One oddity on there was this: a bullpen cart that matched the opposing team's hat...looks like it may have been at the 1973 World Series between the Mets and the A's
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    Quote Originally Posted by efin98 View Post
    One oddity on there was this: a bullpen cart that matched the opposing team's hat...looks like it may have been at the 1973 World Series between the Mets and the A's
    Definitely '73 - but far from an oddity for the Mets, that was standard procedure at Shea for a long time. Every visiting team had a bullpen car with a matching hat. Look close and you can see the Astros car at Shea, also in 1973 -


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    Quote Originally Posted by alpineinc View Post
    Definitely '73 - but far from an oddity for the Mets, that was standard procedure at Shea for a long time. Every visiting team had a bullpen car with a matching hat. Look close and you can see the Astros car at Shea, also in 1973 -
    They simply change the hats or were there entirely separate cars?
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    Quote Originally Posted by efin98 View Post
    They simply change the hats or were there entirely separate cars?
    Good question - I would think they'd change the hats, but couldn't say for sure!

  15. #15
    God I am so glad I never witnessed this in a baseball game. I don't think I could watch the sport after that. Dumbest idea ever.

    Why don't they just shoot the relief pitcher out of a cannon onto a giant trampoleen behind the mound.

    Somehow I think there are people who liked the bullpen car right now thinking to themselves, "a cannon! What a great idea!"

  16. #16
    Somehow "Enter the Sandman" losses its meaning if Mariano rolls up in a 69 Datsun.

    How many post season moments would have been destroyed in the bottom of the ninth of game 7 with bases loaded, and all of a sudden, a tugboat pulls up to the mound.


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    Quote Originally Posted by efin98 View Post
    They simply change the hats or were there entirely separate cars?

    They were changed by using a fabric shaped like the cap/roof and installed it like one would put a slipcover on a matress.

    I saw them do it once after a game at Old Yankee Stadium under the LF bleachers for the next team arriving for that particular homestand.

    And they would charge up the batteries by plugging it into a regular A/C type power outlet.

    Dennis
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpineinc View Post
    Definitely '73 - but far from an oddity for the Mets, that was standard procedure at Shea for a long time. Every visiting team had a bullpen car with a matching hat. Look close and you can see the Astros car at Shea, also in 1973 -

    Shea looked so new and un-molested in this photo ... Even sporting the WHITE foul poles ... *sniffle*

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by NunuMet View Post
    Shea looked so new and un-molested in this photo ... Even sporting the WHITE foul poles ... *sniffle*
    I miss the shea car, they should bring it back

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadly View Post
    Somehow "Enter the Sandman" losses its meaning if Mariano rolls up in a 69 Datsun.

    How many post season moments would have been destroyed in the bottom of the ninth of game 7 with bases loaded, and all of a sudden, a tugboat pulls up to the mound.

    Back when the Mariners had that tugboat, I don't think the post season even crossed their minds. They should have sent their relievers to the mound in a gasoline truck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
    Back when the Mariners had that tugboat, I don't think the post season even crossed their minds. They should have sent their relievers to the mound in a gasoline truck.
    Do you mean like the Mets relievers?

    A slight aside, but when Jerry Manuel hooked his starters and waved to the bullpen, all I could ever think of is the lyric from David Bowie's theme song from "Cat People": It's like putting out fire with gasoline Ouch!!!

    Dennis
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    Back in the mid-70s the California Angels had a notoriously unreliable bullpen. Their nickname? "The Arson Squad".

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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    Here's some good info (with pics).
    http://www.realcavsfans.com/showthread.php?t=9402

    I like the Mariners Tugboat. It says the Brewers were the last to use a bullpen car, in 1995.
    Brewers still have a car during pitching changes that is traverses the warning track, but it is not used for transport of the pitcher.

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