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The rise and fall of the bullpen car

Apr 9, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT

Image (1) yankees_datsun_bullpen_car.jpg for post 2892

I started watching baseball in the late 70s so, naturally, I assumed that bullpen cars were just a part of the game. But of course they were just a weird, short-lived part of the game that coincided with my youth.

Over at Mental Floss today Matt Soniak gives a brief history and several links to all things bullpen car. I feel like that’s a way better way to spend the next few minutes than to watch Phil Hughes in that Twins game.

  1. happytwinsfan - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    whadda ya mean that “twins game”? he pitched a scoreless second and his pitch count is under 70!

    • clydeserra - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      and as an A’s fan, it was a good first inning.

  2. renaado - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Not my vid but I’ve been watching a lot of NPB games in youtube now and bullpen cars are definitely one of a kind there.

  3. historiophiliac - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    If you click on the link and then click on the Skeeters link too, you get these nuggets from Will Startup (FOR REALS???? A PITCHER NAMED WILL STARTUP??? NO FREAKING WAY!!) via Jim Caple:

    “You have these awkward situations where [the drivers] want to talk with you,” Startup says. “It’s like a blind date…”

    “For that matter, Startup asks, what do you do when the bullpen cart driver drops the pitcher off at the mound?
    ‘Do you hug him? Do you shake his hand? Do you fist-bump? I feel rude just getting out of the cart,’ Startup says.”

  4. sdelmonte - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    The bullpen car was as much a promotional, er, vehicle, as anything else.

    But I miss the bullpen cart with the baseball cap roof.

  5. 18thstreet - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Players back then were in such bad shape they couldn’t be expected to walk from the bullpens into the game. And that’s why Barry Bonds invented steroids. Billy Beane wrote a book about it. You can look it up.

  6. bigharold - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    I remember the Yankees had a car, (pictured above), other teams had golf carts. I’m not saying other teams didn’t have cars but I don’t remember them. Back in the day you either watched your local team on a local station or once a week you got the game of the week. So there was a lot less exposure to other teams

    I also remember the Car being a Datsun, or Nissan as they are now known, and that was unusual because Japanese cars in the early 70 were still looked down upon. But, that was George Steinbrenner inventing new revenue streams.

    There is a funny story involving the Yankee car. Goose Gossage wasn’t very effective early in his Yankee career and there is a story about Gossage coming into a game a Micky Rivers yelling “no” and throwing himself on the hood of the car. I actually never saw that but I wish I had.

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