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Gates Brown – 1973 Topps #508

William James “Gates” Brown (born in Crestline, Ohio on May 2, 1939) is a former Major League Baseball player who spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers (1963–1975). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. In a 13 season career, Brown was a .257 hitter with 84 home runs and 322 runs batted in in 1051 games played. On June 19, 1963, coming off the bench, Brown became the American League’s 11th player to hit a home run in his first at bat. A popular figure among Tigers’ fans, Brown may not have had the defensive skills to make the everyday lineup but he has been considered one of the premier pinch hitters in MLB history. On August 7, 1968, Brown made history. He wasn’t in the starting lineup, so he decided to grab two hot dogs from the clubhouse. He was ordered by manager Mayo Smith to pinch hit. He stuffed the hot dogs in his jersey to hide them from his manager.
“I always wanted to get a hit every time I went to the plate. But this was one time I didn’t want to get a hit. I’ll be damned if I didn’t smack one in the gap and I had to slide into second—head first, no less. I was safe with a double. But when I stood up, I had mustard and ketchup and smashed hot dogs and buns all over me.” The fielders took one look at me, turned their backs and damned near busted a gut laughing at me. My teammates in the dugout went crazy.” After fining Brown $100, Smith said, “What the hell were you doing eating on the bench in the first place?” Brown: “I decided to tell him the truth. I said, ‘I was hungry. Besides, where else can you eat a hot dog and have the best seat in the house'”

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