Throwback Thursday: Turk Farrell

He might have punched this baseball card if he didn't like what he saw.

Why we like him: Obviously when you're talking about the Houston Colt .45s, you're going way back into the deepest corners of the history of the game. The Colt .45s were renamed the Astros in 1965, and it had nothing to do with the fact that idiotic interest groups thought the Colt .45 moniker would somehow beget violence on the streets of Houston. Turk Farrell was a hulking, hard-throwing right-handed pitcher for the Colt .45s/Astros during their early days in the early-to-mid 1960s.

Despite a fairly ordinary, ho-hum career, Farrell was as interesting as player could be back in those days. His teammates said that "when he lost, he lost his temper, but when he won, he was the life of the party." Turk also broke a mirror in the clubhouse in Milwaukee after a poor outing simply because he said he looked in the mirror and didn't like what he saw, so he punched it. Okie dokie.

One of Farrell's most interesting stories involves a comeback line drive off the bat of none other than Hank Aaron. After throwing one of his trademark fastballs, the Hammer blasted it back up the middle on a line straight for Farrell's noggin. Turning to get out the way, Farrell took the drive solidly off the back of his head where the carom and the laws of physics directed the ball toward short right-center where a young and still short Joe Morgan drifted over from second base to set up camp to catch it in the air. The official scoring: the most painful assist on a fly ball in baseball history.

Farrell was killed in a car accident in 1977 at the age of 43, but we'll make sure his legend lives on. His final career stats: 14 seasons, 106-111, 3.45 ERA, 1177 strikeouts, 211 conventional assists, and 1 assist off his head on a fly ball. Thanks for the memories, Turk.

Ladies and gentlemen, Turk Farrell, Ballplayer.

Vince Coleman

Only high-speed photography could capture the elusive Coleman.

Why we like him: If Vince Coleman had been just a little better from the plate, he would have been Rickey Henderson. Built like an Olympic track athlete, Coleman was one of the fastest players ever to play the game. He played for 13 big-league seasons and amassed some pretty impressive stats for a guy who was never even remotely considered for the Hall of Fame.

"Vincent Van Go" owns several of Major League Baseball's most impressive baserunning records, and the way the game is played today, there is a good chance they could stand forever. Only Coleman and Henderson have three 100-steal seasons on record, but it was Coleman who stole more than 100 bases in three consecutive seasons. Not only that, but they just happened to be his first three seasons in the majors. Those three seasons are actually three of the six most productive base-thieving seasons in history.

Coleman never batted .300, which in my opinion, only emphasizes his effectiveness as a base-stealer. In arguably his best season in 1987, he batted .289 and stole 109 bases and finished 12th in MVP voting. The two-time All Star was the scariest baserunner on a team chock full of scary baserunners like Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee. It's just a shame his career didn't last a quarter of a century like Rickey Henderson's.

Vince Coleman stole 752 bases with 80% success in 13 seasons and playing more than 120 games in just six of them. Rickey Henderson stole 1406 with 81% success in 25 seasons. Coleman was a career .264 hitter. Henderson hit .279 and walked more than any other hitter in history except for Barry Bonds. If Vince Coleman had played for 25 full seasons, who knows what he could have accomplished.

Ladies and gentlemen, Vince Coleman, Ballplayer.