Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Quick Mastro Post: Dodger Pranks

I just came across Mastro's upcoming auction and took a quick look at some of the items that will be available. Once again, it's as impressive as ever.

One item really sticks out for me. They are auctioning a collection of 20 photographs highlighting the Dodgers Tour of Japan after their 1955 World Series win over the Yankees. It looks like it comes from someones personal collection. As you can imagine, this lot consist of the usual fare- players getting off the plane, players in the plane, some hula dancing while in Hawaii, O'Malley bonding with employees and players, etc. What I didn't expect to see was a photograph of a prank played on a unsuspecting person.
I remember while in college going to parties where this was a favorite pastime. Whoever passed out first would be sure to wake up with permanent ink markings all over their face. Heck, I admit to participating in this from time to time- and frankly, I don't feel bad at all. Afterall, my lack of regret has to do with the fact that I have been the unwitting victim of this kind of prank.

One Saturday afternoon, I woke up after a long evening of drunken debauchery. I slowly strolled to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I almost screamed. Little cartoons and phrases I had never heard before graced my face. It was the most horrifying event I had ever faced in my young life. Man-O-Live, was I embarrassed. On top of that it took forever to get that ink off. The funniest thing, though is I still have friends who will bring up that evening with much glee.

Anyway, I started staring at the picture above and wondered, "who is that guy in the photo?" Mastro's description only states, "and one unfortunate player who, in his peaceful sleep, fell victim to the face-painting abilities of his Dodger teammates."

Which player does that guy look like? Let me know if you have any answers.

A part of me thinks he looks just like Vin Scully. Am I wrong here?

UPDATE: The photos is actually from the 1956 Dodgers Tour of Japan. Also, since there is a resurgence of hits for this post due to my tweet today, I thought I would find and link up to the original auction - which I have just found.  Check it out here.  There's pics of hula-hoop ladies and more Dodgers sleeping.

I remember bidding on this, but now that I'm reminded what it sold for I'm kicking myself in the arse.  The $145 price tag seems cheap now.  What was I thinking?

Season of the Samurai

In 2005 I had a chance to see several Golden Baseball League games. If you don't already know, the GBL is an upstart independent minor league based in the West Coast. There are teams in Long Beach, Fullerton, Chico, San Diego and Yuma- just to name a few. Former major leaguers included Rickey Henderson, Darrell Evans, Terry Kennedy and Garry Templeton. 2005 was its inaugural season.

Anyway, the first game I saw was between the Long Beach Armada vs. the Samurai Bears’. Now, my first thought was, "who are the Samurai Bears?" I would soon find out that they where a traveling group of all Japanese Baseball players. How cool is that? Furthermore, they were coached by former major leaguer Warren Cromartie.

So, this morning I got an email from the GBL highlighting a documentary that was filmed about the Samurai Bears. They played in 90 games over a 96 day period and went through the trials and tribulations you would expect a team to go through during a season that busy.

From the email:
The film, starring Samurai Bears’ team manager and ex-major leaguer Warren Cromartie, chronicles the on and off field exploits of the Samurai Bears as they compete in the 2005 Golden Baseball League season as the first ever all-Japanese team to participate as a regular member of a U.S. professional sports league. The Samurai Bears competed as a traveling team playing 90 games on the road in 96 days across California and Arizona. Cromartie, a legend in his playing days for Japan’s Yomiuri Giants, now is in a reversed role as he skippers 25 Japanese players competing in a professional baseball league in a foreign land.

Narrated by Cromartie and GBL President Amit Patel, the film chronicles early difficulties by the team on the field, language and cultural miscommunications, a prima donna slugger, and a translator struggling with the pressure – all set against a classic minor league baseball backdrop of small towns, long bus rides, and hero-worshipping groupies. The Samurai Bears eventually find a groove on the field and end up chasing the record for the most single-season wins by a minor league traveling team. Along the way, the team also learns about America, masters new and colorful baseball vernacular in several languages, and shows a depth of dedication, passion and joy for the game that makes it very obvious that this is not just America’s national pastime.
The film will have its premier this weekend during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Saturday, February 3rd at 7:30PM.

If you have a chance go and check it out- and let me know how it is. I won't have a opportunity to go out there so I'll probably have to wait for NetFlix. Santa Barbara is a long drive for me.

SB Film Festival Link:

GBL Link:

More Photos From Leland's Auctions

Leland's just seems to have an incredible stockpile of press photos just waiting to be unearthed.

Below is an incredible photographic reenactment of the capture and shooting of John Dillinger.
"Superimposed on the photo image of the notorious Chicago street corner are the hand drawn images of the participants in this real-life crime drama."
Dillinger Wire Photo Link:

Of course, no auction is complete without a healthy dose of Dodger history. Emmett Kelly, hired by O'Malley to entertain the Brooklyn faithful, is shown below performing his "clean up man at bat" routine at Dodgertown in Vero Beach in 1957. Roy Campanella is behind the plate.
Dodger Clown Link:

Here is a great photo of one of the most famous brawls to ever explode on a Baseball field. Juan Marichal, taking exception to being buzzed by a throw from John Roseboro, let's his bat do the talking- and I don't mean he knocked a homer to show up the Dodgers. Instead, he takes his bat and proceeds to pummel Roseboro. Johnny is stunned and seen sprawled on the ground ready to tackle his assailant, Juan is being held back by the umpire with bat in hand and Sandy looks shocked as he heads towards home plate. What a game this must have been.
Marichal/ Roseboro Fight Link:

Since yesterday was Jackie's birthday it wouldn't be right to not highlight some great Jackie photos. Below is Jackie receiving his Silver Slugger award in 1949 from Ford Frick. My favorite part about this picture is the guy with the funny hat. Where'd he get that? And how about that bloke with the glasses and the giant grin. He thinks he's a star.
Jackie and his Silver Slugger Link:

Below is a 1947 photo during Spring Training in Cuba showing Jackie, wearing a Montreal Royals jersey, meeting his future manager Leo Durocher.
Durocher & Jackie Link:

A reflective and dejected Robinson sits in the clubhouse after a 4-2 loss to the Yankees in the 1952 World Series. This was the third time Jackie and the Dodgers failed to win the crown against the hated Yanks. All Jackie could say was, "they didn't miss Joe DiMaggio, it was that Mantle, that Mickey Mantle killed us."
Jackie Robinson having a Coke Link:

Leland's Auction House Link: