Wednesday, May 21, 2014

171. Don Anderson: Speed on the Bases

I've been working on my book for the past few months, compiling, writing about and illustrating some really great and forgotten ballplayers. I'm really proud of where it's going so far and as the deadline looms, I will try to post some sneak peeks at some of the new characters (and some old ones I revisited and revamped). 

Today I thought I'd bring you something a little off the path usually tread here at The Infinite Baseball Card Set. A quick glance at the card to the left and you're probably thinking "what does 1950's auto racing have to do with baseball?". Well, bare with me. 

Remember the Brooklyn Bushwicks? I did a few of their players over the years and told the story about how they played in a magical place in Woodhaven, Queens called Dexter Park. During the 1920's through the early 1950's some of the best baseball outside the major leagues were played there. The home team, the Brooklyn Bushwicks, were an ever changing squad of future or former major leaguers, career minor leaguers or college stars. Their opponents were the best semi-pro teams and the cream of the Negro Leagues. On some days the Bushwicks would out-draw the neighboring Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. 

Dexter Park, besides being an outsider baseball mecca, was also home to boxing, football, soccer, rifle shooting, archery and auto racing. Yep, auto racing. In the early fifties the sport was in its infancy and Dexter Park, along with many other ballparks and stadiums were host to what would eventually evolve into NASCAR. About a year ago, the son of one of those early drivers contacted me to see if I was game for producing an illustration of his father, who often raced his '38 Plymouth named "Miss Charlotte" in Dexter Park. I love the tie in with the old Bushwicks, and with a stack of old photographs supplied by the son, created a card of Don Anderson. Don's son even had the great idea of including the Dexter Park scoreboard as a backdrop to the illustration, which besides being visually appealing, helped reinforce the baseball tie-in. Don's son one other request was that I post the story of his father as card number 171, his old man's car number.

So here he is, number 171: Don Anderson...

#171, “Miss Charlotte”, ‘38 Plymouth
Non-Ford, Jalopy, Claiming Divisions
Dexter Park & Freeport Stadium, N.Y.

Don was a member of The All State Racing Stock Car Club during the ’52 & ’53 seasons. Throttle pushers as they were called, “Raced around the Bases” of Max Rosner’s, Bushwick Baseball Club from ’51 to ‘55. Thursday and Sunday night racing was witnessed by thousands under the arc lights at the 1/3 mile Woodhaven N.Y. metro plant. With his gal Charlotte cheering from the bleachers Don won his Heats, Semi and Consi events here and at Freeport. Surviving to make the feature when over 100 cars are vying for it was no small feat. He competed against and beat veteran drivers like Zeke, Gouevia, Rocco, Coy, Brunnhoelzl and Tet. Luck shined on him in the Feature events too, taking second to veteran shoes Al DeAngelo, Axel Anderson and Jim Hendrickson. Co-Driver Mitch Harris of Richmond Hill did well too, winning it all in July ’52, taking the checkers!  

1 comment:

  1. At Infinite Baseball Cards,,,, your dreams really do come true! Thanks from all the Anderson family, great artwork as usual and we all love your unique style and storys of the characters from days of old...... Thanks, Alan