They say “business in the front, party in the back.” Petr Klima’s hair met the criteria, but from the sounds of things, he was all about the party – the one in the front and the one in the back.
I guess I was too young to realize it at the time, but Klima got himself into a lot of trouble (and had a lot of fun), especially when he was a Detroit Red Wing early in his career and he was buddies with a fellow named Bob Probert. You could either say he adjusted very well or very poorly to life beyond the Iron Curtain, depending on your perspective.
There are probably lots of people who remember Klima for his lifestyle choices, but I choose to remember him in a bit of a different way. I remember him as the guy who brought the Czechoslomullet to the NHL, and possibly North America, before Jaromir Jagr made it mainstream. I also remember him for his terrible helmet, which was probably designed to fit the hair properly. Wayne Gretzky made the Jofa cool. Petr Klima did not.
And who can forget him coming off the bench (where he’d spent most of the game) to score the triple overtime winner in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final? I’ll bet that was a fun evening.
So, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed a Canadian catcher to a five year contract worth about eleventy billion dollars. His name is Russell Martin and he does not usually have a moustache. He is pretty good at baseball, but I think they signed him because they thought it would be easier to just sign a Canadian catcher rather than spend years trying to convert one.
Let me explain. They used to have a catcher named Ernie Whitt. Ernie Whitt definitely had a moustache. He may have, in fact, been born with one. By 1989, he was also the last player to play for the Blue Jays that started when they first took flight (see what I did there?) in 1977.
An internet search leaves things a bit murky as to whether Whitt actually ever became a citizen, but the Blue Jays fought the good fight for years, and eventually Whitt was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. Citizenship or not, mission accomplished.
1. Shared the William M. Jennings Trophy as a member of the Montreal Canadiens with Denis Herron in 1981-82.
2. Won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989.
3. Was part of the 10-player Doug Gilmour trade during the 1991-92 season.
4. Once wore the entire outfit pictured on the card above, including outer pad on his left arm, as an active player in the National Hockey League.
5. Played for both the Hamilton Fincups and, during their only season of existence, the St. Catharine’s Fincups. (NOTE: a Fincup is not a real thing. The Hamilton Spectator tells us that this name is a mixture of the last names of the team owners, Joe Finochio and brothers Ron and Mario Cupido. This is the most important thing to take from this post – a Major Junior hockey team was named after the owners. I need to know if this was an anomaly or if there were more. Don’t worry, I’m on it.)