Monday, August 19, 2019

The Thorzul Archives: Vol. 1

As you may know, this blog is an offshoot of my now-dead site, Thorzul Will Rule. I kept it going for twelve years, and during that time, I have been wrong about many, many things. Other things I have hit the nail on the head. And still other topics have developed further since publication. This feature will occasionally be used to go back and correct, tout, or otherwise expand upon something that I've written in the past.

Back in 2011 I did a quick post about some of the cards I picked up at a local card show. One of these was a 1957 Topps Reno Bertoia. In the post I remark that on his card, Bertoia appears to be "zonked." Not knowing anything about the player, this was merely a comment on his appearance. Just breaking balls, you know. People take less-than-ideal pictures all the time, caught mid-blink or something like that. I figured this was just one of those situations and joked accordingly.

As it turns out, Bertoia actually had a significant drug problem during his playing career. While reading the book Team Chemistry not too long ago, I came across Reno's name. A chapter partly about Bertoia indicates that he used the tranquilizers Equanil and Sedamyl to reduce his anxiety so he could be calm enough to play effectively. Most reports state that this began during the 1957 season, which would make it unlikely that he was on the pills while depicted on his 1957 Topps card. However, the dates could be off by a bit, perhaps better explaining his appearance in the card. Unfortunately, Reno died approximately three months after I wrote this post about him.

A very thorough article about Bertoia by the Society for Advanced Baseball Research can be found here.

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