Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tommy Speaks the Truth!

Oh how I miss those weekend afternoon pep talks with Tommy Lasorda on the television. He would mold my impressionable mind with stories of the great Dodger in the sky and the moral righteousness of Dodger Blue. It is his fault I'm a rabid unapologetic die-hard Dodger fan.

So, I'm happy to report that the great preacher of Chavez Ravine hasn't lost a step. From the LA Times.
Tom Lasorda served as the master of ceremonies at the 82nd annual Assn. of Professional Ball Players of America banquet Saturday night in Long Beach.

Lasorda spotted Gerald Pickens, head of the Compton Baseball Academy Teams youth program, in the audience wearing an Angels jacket.

"I would appreciate it if the guy with the Angels jacket would get out of here," Lasorda said. "The only Angels are ex-Dodgers and they're all in heaven."
That's right! Welcome to a Blue Heaven!

Happy Birthday Jackie!

I wanted to take this time to mention that today is Jackie Robinson's 88th birthday.

Also, other Hall of Fame Birthday's on this day include Ernie Banks and Nolan Ryan.

Other birthdays include the Sex Pistols frontman, Johnny Rotten.

Friday, January 19, 2007

eBay Find: Old Pittsburgh Crawford Photo Album

One Word.


This is probably the most incredible baseball related find, not owned by a dealer, I've seen on eBay ever. The pictures are absolutely incredible.

This appears to be a late 1920's early 1930's photo album highlighting the early birth of the now famous Negro League team Pittsburgh Crawfords. Unbelievable!

What is great about the item is that it shows the team before it became the professional league team it is now famous for. When the Crawfords were a town-ball team. Before the time when stars like James "Cool Papa" Bell, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson and Satchel Paige played for them.
As Ryan Cristoff states on the Vintage Baseball Card Forum, (btw, he runs the website)
"They really seem to capture the essence of the Negro Leagues. The fans in the background, the buildings, the condition of the fields, the guys in street clothes pitching."
I am awe struck too.

Some noted experts on the Vintage Baseball Card Forum say that no one of significance is portrayed here, but I swear the guy in the middle picture above is a young Josh Gibson. (he's the guy taking a swing with a bat."
Anyway, I had to point this auction out. It is absolutely incredible.

eBay Auction Link: EBay: (linked fixed)

Hat Tip: Vintage Baseball Card Forum:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lelands-Gaynor Auction

Lelands-Gaynor is back with its January Auction that includes some great press/ wire photos.

My favorite Dodger photograph is of Jackie Robinson punting his glove. No doubt he misses his days as a star football player at UCLA. Harry Houdini, in 1922, makes a harrowing escape from from a straight jacket in Washington DC. Bill Gates is the richest nerd in the world. This prescient photo tells us all about it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hanging Out With the Kings

As some of you may now, I'm also a rabid LA Kings fan. So, as a Dave Taylor Die Hard season ticket holder sitting up in the rafters in Section 315, my friends and I had a chance to hang out with the Kings. Well... Actually, it is a free autograph session with free tours of the the Staple Center locker rooms/ Zamboni. Below are some pics from last night.Below are my friends Craig, Bill and myself with King rookies Konstantin Pushkarev (on the left) and phenom 1st liner Anze Kopitar (on the right). Pushkarev got his first NHL professional goal a couple of nights ago. Anze is the future of the Kings. In the locker room. Below we are heading out to center ice. I almost felt like Rocky. I walked out through the locker room backdrop, raised my arms in victory and sat my rear end on the Kings bench. Then we had a chance to walk out onto the ice and pose with the mighty Zamboni.See those black seats on the top left in the picture below- above a rectangular advertising sign for BofA? That's where we sit! I had a bout of vertigo just staring up there.

OT: Senator Dorgan Introduces New Net Neutrality Bill

I love the internets! To paraphrase Senator Ted Stevens, it's an immaculate series of tubes in which information passes at light-speed. Of course, Senator Stevens was skewered for his idiotic comments related to this, so maybe he isn't a great person to quote. Nevertheless, by virtue of you reading this you probably love the world wide web as much as I do. Afterall, its greatest draw is its democratizing nature.

It has the ability to provide a voice to the mute or timid. It provides an avenue to express yourself in almost any manner desired. You have the ability to access data and information at your fingertips. Furthermore, you can quickly share information with others just as fast. You no longer have to wait for the 6 o'clock news for the days happenings. All you have to do is turn on the computer.

Wealth, innovation and freedom is what the internet has provided to all of us. (I'm still waiting for the wealth part.) Unfortunately, there are those that wish to change the central foundation of how this network works. There are those that wish to end it's 1st amendment. Net neutrality is being threatened.

What is net neutrality you ask? It is a
"principle that underlies the design of the Internet (or any network) as non-selective or "neutral" about the content flowing through it."
In other words, an ISP, like SBC, cannot favor some content over other content. For instance, if you want to use Google, but SBC has an exclusive contract with Yahoo, then SBC would naturally restrict the use of Google on their network, or favor Yahoo search by making it move faster than Google. As it sits right now, SBC cannot favor Yahoo over Google, or Blue Heaven over Sons of Steven Garvey. We, as users, can go to any website we choose knowing that our service provider cannot restrict where we go or artificially slow down a website who will not pay them. We, as users, choose, not SBC. We choose!

Anyway, Senator Dorgan of North Dakota is re-introducing a net-neutrality bill and is using the internet to make a personal appeal.

YouTube Link: savetheinternet:

Hat Tip: MyDD:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Welcome to Cooperstown

Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn are officially elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations!

Voting results, via 6-4-2, at the Baseball Hall of Fame.Above is the key rookie card for Ripken- 1982 Topps Traded card. Below is Gwynn's key rookie card- 1983 Topps.
My disappointments are many with this recent election. Where is the love for Goose Gossage, Lee Smith, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hero: The Subway Superman

In the insulated world of sports fandom, we often look at our brightest stars as heroes. They can hit the ball farther, make a game saving catch or have the ability to win in the clutch. At the end of the day, though, we all understand that real heroes do so much more.

Below is an interview with Mr. Wesley Autrey of New York City. He dove into the subway tracks to help a stranger who had fallen in while an oncoming train was coming. He is a real hero.

It is instances like this that make me hopeful for the future.

Hat Tip: iFlipFlop:

YouTube Link: belowtheradar:

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Schaefer Double/Triple Steal

I was cruising around the internet and came across a great story about a deadball era player and a double steal you will not believe. I'll start by asking, how can you possibly get 3 stolen bases on 3 consecutive pitches and still not ever get past 2nd base?
Well, Ghost in the Dugout tells us how.
"The Tigers were playing Cleveland in a close game. (Davy) Jones was on third and (Herman Germany) Schaefer was on first. Schaefer bolted for second, trying to draw a throw from the Indian catcher to give Jones a chance to score on the double steal. The catcher chose not to make the attempt. With Tigers on second and third and Sam Crawford at the plate, it seemed the game would go on in a typical manner. But nothing was typical about Germany Schaefer. On the next pitch, Schaeffer let out a blood curdling scream and sprinted back to first. The catcher was too stunned to do anything but stand there with the ball in his hand. The umpires after a long discussion allowed the "steal" and on the next pitch, Schaefer again took off for second. The third time was the charm; the catcher attempted to throw out Schaefer, Jones took off for home, and both base runners were safe."
Sounds like the "Wild West" of Baseball.

Photo Link: eBay:

BP's Year in Quotes

Baseball Prospectus has just released their 2006 "The Year in Quotes." As you can imagine, Grady Little (and his wife) are well represented. Check out their story here.
"Those stats show you a whole lot. But it's like that woman on the beach in a bikini. It shows you a lot, but it doesn't show you everything. I'll never be accused of taking the human element out of it."
Even our old crazy friend Milton Bradley comes up with a good one.
"They swore they wanted character guys, but then they signed a DUI guy and a guy sleeping with a reporter and that's fine, but I got character issues?"

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ebay Pick-Ups: Campy, Gilliam and a Couple of Rookies

I thought I would share some recent eBay winnings.

Below is a UPI press photograph, circa Jan. 1968, of just elected Hall of Famer Roy Campanella. Ten years after the accident that cut short his career, Campanella, as shown here, is seen on the phone having received the news about his election into Baseball's most hallowed shrine. Below is a rare card of Dodger star Junior Gilliam. It was produced in 1954 by N.Y. Journal-American. It was one of the leading newspapers of the time. They produced these cards, as well as, 8x10 team photos, to advertise their papers.
Nowadays, most of my collection consist of vintage issue collectibles, but from time to time I do pick up a shiny card here and there. As I'm sure you can guess, when it comes to modern cards I only have interest in Dodger players. Furthermore, I really like the look of the autographed cards that come in packs these days. Below is Takashi Saito in the midst of throwing a vicious fastball. His autograph is on the bottom right. Below is our catcher phenom Russell Martin.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Original Barrier Breaker

As Dodger fans we are given a steady diet of history. From the "Shot Heard Around the World" to Hilda Chester and her cowbell. From the lovable bum to the 1955 World Championship. From Walter Alston to Tommy Lasorda. We have all embraced the stories and the fables. Not surprisingly, Dodgers history oftentimes crisscrosses with the history of our country.

This sets us up for the seminal event we all know well. An event that would be remembered and discussed throughout the country. It was a sign that things are changing. That America was maturing. On a Spring afternoon, Pee Wee Reese welcomed his new teammate, Jackie Robinson, with a friendly smile and an arm around the shoulders.

The Baseball world and our country would never be the same. But did you know it was not the first act of kindness to a African-American man in organized Baseball. There was another event, just a year before, that also helped open the doors.

The Tribune Chronicle tells us all about it.

The Montreal Royals, a Dodger minor league affiliate, started the 1946 Baseball season with Jackie Robinson in the line-up. In his first game Jackie hit a homerun. George "Shotgun" Shuba was at homeplate to congratulate Jackie as he crossed home plate.
"This moment is described as the first interracial handshake in profession Baseball."
Apparently, Jackie had some worry that his teammates would not shake his hand. Bitterness and fear was still the order of the day. For George Shuba's random act of kindness Jackie called George to thank him.

George Shuba recalls the conversation.
‘‘He called me later and thanked me,’’ Shuba said. ‘‘And I said, what for?"... ‘‘I said, ‘Are you on our team? Are you on our side? OK then.’ ’’
Check out the link for the story. There is one photo that exist of this historic moment and Mr. Shuba recently donated a copy to the Austintown Historical Society.

Tribune Chronicle Link:

Hat Tip: Sports Collectors Daily: