Ahhhh, the good ol' days, when athletes could make a little extra money from cigarette ads without worrying about dying from lung cancer or corrupting America's youth.
So what if there's no good way to smile while holding a cigarette without looking effeminate, drunk or effeminately drunk? That didn't stop legends like Stan Musial
or the great Mickey Mantle, for that matter. The good news for the Mick was that nobody would ever DARE question his sexuality.
Whoops, I spoke too soon. Welcome to my single favorite piece every year. It just slays me. Can you put a price on this kind of comedy? (Actually, you can — the price was $3,495.) I know it's easy for your eyes to gravitate towards the Mick, lock on him, then stare at him in disbelief for the next two to six hours, but check out the look on Yogi Berra's face — it's the same way Beecher used to stare at Keller during Season 3 of Oz. Can you imagine if A-Rod and Jeter released a similar ad in 2011? Would the Internet self-combust?
Continuing our smoking theme: These two authentic St. Louis Hawks lighters from the 1961 (left) and 1959 (right) were going for $250. Limited market here: How many St. Louis fans stuck with the Hawks after they moved and smoke cigarettes/cigars AND have $250 to burn on a genuinely dumb purchase? We're basically down to Jon Hamm and that's it.
Speaking of Hamm, it's always fun to think of the real-life Don Draper seeing one of these 1950s ads and saying, "No, no, that's all wrong! I told you, I want Leo smiling! And I want him holding a bat!" I vote that we start making superawkward ads with baseball players and managers again.