Saturday, May 31, 2008
Below is a great shot of the color guard in the outfield during the National Anthem. The stadium is slowly filling up as the Southland tradition of arriving late has its roots to the very first game. Richard mentioned that traffic that day was horrendous as the parking lot was much smaller than it is today. In the background the hills are freshly carved and cars are packed in like sardines. The building with a Spanish tile roof in the distance is believed to be a old schoolhouse, a reminder of the community that once resided in Chavez Ravine.
It is minutes before the start of the game. Both teams have been introduced as they stand to gaze at the still growing crowd.
Play Ball! Johnny Podres is on the mound. The photograph below captures the very first pitch. The field above is in pretty poor shape as the grass appears to be still filling in. That winter was very wet and caused delays in the stadiums construction. They were almost forced to postpone the grand opening.
The nearly 2 hour and 47 minute match is over as the first Dodger game in their new home has ended. Unfortunately, they lost to the Reds 6 to 3. Cincinnati left fielder Wally Post hit the first homerun at the stadium which also happened to be a 3 run game winner that put the Reds up front for good in the 7th inning.
If you think that's weird get a hold of his other habits. He would chew black licorice instead of tobacco. The umpire would have to roll the ball to him otherwise he would let a thrown ball land on the field or bounce off his chest. At the beginning of each inning he would go to the mound and wave at the centerfielder and wait for him to wave back before proceeding. When the catcher stood, Wendell would crouch. He would draw crosses on the mound and high jump the baseline. His necklace was made of animal teeth from creatures he hunted and killed. My favorite thing, though, is that he wore number 99 in honor Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn from Major League and once negotiated a contract for $9,999,999.99.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Before you start hyperventilating with thoughts of curses and jinxes take a deep breath. Wikipedia reminds us that Will Clark played for the Texas Rangers from 1994 to 1998 (his home team) and Kershaw's admiration comes from that time period. Now I can breath. Goodness knows that's no way to start your Dodger career by honoring a former Giant.
Good luck tonight. Dodger Nation is watching.
Hat Tip: Big League Stew:
My favorite Dodger item available is this 1948 jersey made of satin of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They have a reflective appearance and were used only during night games in the 1948 season. It must have been quite a sight to see the players on the field glowing. This jersey was worn by pitcher Joe Hatten. Check out the auction here.
This is the rarest of all Jackie Robinson vintage pins. It is a promotional pin made in 1947 by the Brooklyn Eagle. This is the first time I've seen one. Check it out here.
There is something eerily mesmerizing about the item below. Leland's is auctioning a death mask of French General Napoleon Bonaparte.
This particular bronze casting is a descendant of the mask given by Napoleon's attendant, Madame Bertrand to one of his physicians, Francesco Antonmarchi who in turn had several copies made.I don't quite know what to think about this thing. In a way, it's fascinating to see the face of a person I've only read about in history books, but it's starting to creep me out. Auction here.
Now for something more lighthearted. This is a UPI press photo of one of my favorite Munsters episodes-"Herman the Rookie." Leo Durocher signs Herman Munster to play for his Baseball team after getting whacked on the head with one of Herman's monstrous hits. Unfortunately, his teammates refuse to play because he would steamroll while stealing bases and throw the ball way too hard. They were starting to get hurt. See the auction here.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sometimes you can find the most amazing stuff in the most likely of places- you just have to look.
Hat Tip: VBCF:
Hopefully over the next few days I'll be able to post more photos, but for now, we'll start with a Coliseum teaser, a Wrigley pic and vintage shots of Anaheim Stadium. I know, I know! Anaheim Pics? I know those photos might disappoint the Dodger fan in all of us, but, from my perspective, I am fascinated by how much things have changed. Check out the pics below. The outfield area is bare without any seating- no bleachers to be found. The freeway backdrop we have come to expect is not there and the classic "Big A" sign is in its original spot. You can't tell me your not fascinated. Anyway, let's start with the photo parade.
Below is a pic from the 1958 season. This was the Dodgers first year at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
Below is a photo of a stadium long forgotten. It is of Wrigley Field that was once located on the corners of Avalon Boulevard and 41st Street in South Los Angeles. The old PCL team Los Angeles Angels (and Hollywood Stars) played here, as well as, the California Angels in 1961 when they became a MLB expansion team. It was eventually torn down in the mid-'60's. The photo below features the New York Yankees during a exhibition game at Wrigley Field. Also, Richard tells me that the homes in the background are still there today.
Below is a collection of four photos featuring a vintage Anaheim Stadium- The Big A. Above is from April 1966. Richard doesn't say exactly, but I suspect this photo is from the "Grand Opening" of Anaheim Stadium on April 19, 1966. After all, what other day would you have a parade of people on the field like that? (I stand corrected. Opening day was against the White Sox and the game below and above is against the Twins. Most likely from Friday April 22, 1966.) (Rob from 6-4-2 comments that it is actually from the following day, Saturday, April 23, 1966.) Below is from the same day during the game against the Twins.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
- Check out this bat twirling bear. Video here. (Hat Tip: ShysterBall)
- This is the best stadium give-away ever. The Saint Paul Saints will be giving away a limited edition "Bobble-Feet" at today's game featuring one of the funniest stories to come out of Minnesota last year. Senator Larry Craig will be forever enshrined in Baseball lore.
A Saints press release notes that, "It doesn't matter if your tapping style is done with a 'wide stance.'"(Hat Tip: Atrios) Update: The Larry Craig bobblefeets are already selling for big bucks on eBay.
- Terry Tiffee instead of Andy LaRoche? Rob of 6-4-2 says it ain't right. On the other hand, MSTI takes credit for starting a Free Terry Tiffee campaign.
- Erin of Beantown West was in Chicago to take in a White Sox game and ran into Carlton Fisk Night.
- Just when you've heard everything. A minor leaguer was traded for a bunch of bats.
For now, Odom is headed to the Laredo Broncos of the United League. They got him Tuesday from the Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League for a most unlikely price: 10 Prairie Sticks Maple Bats, double-dipped black, 34-inch, C243 style.(Hat Tip: Baseball Card Blog)
- Orel talks poker and Baseball.
A lot of the skills are transferable; the preparation, the ability to control your emotions, the ability to understand when the moment is, the ability not to make a snap decision, the ability to understand limping or pitching around a guy, and the ability to fold and intentionally walk somebody. Going after a guy because that is the only thing you can do, because runners are at second and third and you only have a one-run lead, and the blinds are up to 4,000 and you only have 16,000 in chips; you know, I’ve got to go with my best pitch, I’ve got to all in — those kind of comparisons.(Hat Tip: Dodgerfan)
- Just another gimmick card. Topps Bowman has a new insert set featuring autographed cards of 20 Major League scouts, including a mystery scout who would rather remain anonymous.
Friday, May 23, 2008
It's too easy to forget, because it now seems like so long ago, that Piazza was a Hollywood star, as much an LA sports celebrity as anyone who played for the Lakers. He was the biggest name on the Dodgers' marquee — at a time when the Dodgers still were as big in LA as the Yankees are in New York.
I fully concur. It pains me every time I think about that trade to Florida and it hurts even more that he might be going into the Hall of Fame with another cap on his head.
The most unusual type of collectible to recently become popular are vintage Baseball snapshots taken by everyday regular fans. This is a niche collector Dan Bretta enjoys. Check out his photoalbum here featuring Dodger snapshots from 1937 to 1941. Below is a photo from Spring Training in Florida in 1937.
As I was going through his online album I came across numerous photos featuring a Peterman and Claassen. (See the pic above) Who are those guys? I searched various databases and could not find any reference to players with those names being connected to the Dodgers or Baseball. Sure, I know who Manush is. That's Heinie Manush the Hall of Famer who had his last great year with the Dodgers in 1937. To the right in the picture above is Luke Hamlin who played in Brooklyn for five years- winning a career high 20 games for the Dodgers in 1939. The mystery still remains though. Who are Peterman and Claassen? Well, Dan helpfully put up a snippet of a news article that solves it all. Check it out below.
Wow. How great is that? Peterman and most likely Claassen are hardcore fans. They were able to follow the team to Florida (or Cuba as some of the pics suggest) to hang out and work out with the team. How great would it be to be able to do that.
Hat Tip: VBCF:
UPDATE: I missed this one. Diamond Leung of the Press Telegram also has a Blake DeWitt story out today.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The card below comes from the newest Dodger blog to come across my screen, Fire Ned Colletti Now. This writer makes his grievances known to all. He's not happy with the Dodger front office and he's certainly not happy with the moves Colletti has made since joining the Dodgers. What really endears me to this site, though, is that he dislikes Rex Hudler as much as I do. How that guy ever got into broadcasting I will never know. He is unwatchable.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Anyway, beating the Reds has put me at ease. Sure, our starter -our #1 pitcher Brad Penny- did not instill much confidence. He consistently got into trouble by giving up 5 runs on 9 hits while walking 4 batters. Fortunately, Bronson Arroyo was just as bad. He gave 5 runs in 5 innings of work while giving up 9 hits and walking 3. By the time the ninth inning came around the Dodgers and Reds were tied at 5.
At the top of the ninth inning Saito quickly disposed of the Reds- 1, 2, 3. The Reds could not do the same against the Dodgers. In fact, an evening filled with errors and mistakes finally unraveled and doomed the Reds in the ninth inning.
Russell Martin hit a ground ball to the shortstop who threw wildly to first base. The ball sailed into the dugout and Martin ended up at second base. Kent grounded out to the right side of the infield allowing Martin to advance to third base with just one out.
Then, Dusty Baker did something crazy. With Loney and Kemp up next he chose to walk both intentionally to get at Dewitt with the bases loaded. I guess he figured that, given his choices, he was better off facing Dewitt and Hu rather than Loney and Kemp.
Dusty's mistake was our gain. Dewitt had been 5 for 5 in bases loaded situations this season and he did not disappoint. He slapped a single to the left side and Russell Martin walked across the plate easily. Our young hero has certainly been a huge bright spot this season.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I was torn. Then I realized that Saturday could potentially be a doubleheader as the Dodgers were playing a day game and the Armada game was that evening. Unfortunately, since I had other activities to attend to I could only choose one or the other. I could not do both. So, I decided to stick with potential history and went to the independent league exhibition game.
Above and below is some of the pre-game activities that included Steve Yeager handing off a bouquet of flowers.
Below is the Chinese National team lining for pre-game introductions.Here is the first pitch of the game below. The Chinese team started off strong as they scored 4 runs in the 1st inning. Excitement was high on their side. Their number four hitter whacked a 3 run bases clearing double over the head of the centerfielder to get the scoring started. The Armada, on the other hand, looked very shaky. They committed 2 errors in the 1st and numerous other errors throughout the game. They dropped balls and threw wildly as I started to feel embarrassed for the team. I found out later that this was a pre-pre-season game. The Armada only recently started practicing for the season which starts in about a month.
By the time of the last out the Chinese team had outlasted the Long Beach Armada 8 to 6. Overall, I was impressed with the Chinese team. They handled all of the routine plays and played good fundamental Baseball. They might not be a highly skilled team, but I suspect within a decade or so we may be seeing a influx of Chinese players into the Major Leagues. Above is the Chinese National team helmet that comes complete with vents. They are the strangest looking things I've seen in awhile.
See the rest of my photos from the game in my photoalbum here.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
- A Must Read: Harball Times writer Alex Eisenberg does a full analysis on Clayton Kershaw. (Hat Tip: Dodger Thoughts)
After running through Kershaw's mechanics, injury risk, overall stuff and numbers, we can now answer the question: Is Clayton Kershaw worth the hype? The answer is yes...for the most part. Kershaw has a couple of red flags, but pitchers who seem to have a good head on their shoulders, have an athletic build, possess two pitches that rate as plus to plus-plus and display clean mechanics are of a rare breed.
- Perry Lee Barber, a female professional umpire, has a blog and recently wrote a wonderful Mothers Day tribute. (Hat Tip: LoveMyTeam.com)
- Erin at Beantown West is holding the Dodgers feet to the fire as she works on the making sure the Dodgers keep to their promise of staying green.
- There sure are a whole bunch of these "Top 10" type of list on the internet. Here are a few I ran into recently. Top 10 Booties in Beach Volleyball. Top 12 Baseball Traditions That Should be Revived. Top 14 Tailgaters Who Annoy the Crap Out of You.
- Dodger fans crack me up sometimes. Below is a video of Houston Astros slugger Carlos Lee conducting the bleacher seat fans while they serenade him. Hilarious.
YouTube Link: pupkin12:
- Minnesota Twins reliever Pat Neshek is a Baseball card collector and has a website promoting his love of the hobby. He shares some tips about getting autos from other Major League athletes. Unfortunately, Pat recently received some bad news about a torn ligament in his elbow.
- The Dodger blogroll just keeps getting larger. Say hello to Dodgers Homeplate.
- This is just great. Check it out.
MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
It became one of America's early fads and collecting crazes. They started out as business/ advertising cards given away to customers. The name of the establishment would be printed on the front with a simple design around the edges. Soon the designs became more ornate and customers started collecting them to put into scrapbooks. This started the age of Victorian scrapbooking in America.Below is a trade card i picked up on eBay a couple of weeks ago. I had been searching for ages for this particular card. It features an afternoon Base Ball game with the crowd in the background. The umpire always fearful of a wild throw sits comfortably inside a birdcage style cage to protect him from danger. I can imagine sitting on the sidelines with an afternoon meal watching the drama unfold before me.
I can never get enough of these inserted autographed cards. They just look great. Below is a Paul LoDuca 2003 Donruss auto card. Since LoDuca's slide from superstar catcher to a "juicing" has-been his cards have become very affordable. I paid 99 cents for this one. The shipping alone cost three times as much as the card.
But what else is he going to say? His champion -- Magowan -- is being pushed aside, and I'd bet my second born (my firstborn just learned how to fetch beer from the fridge so she's currently indispensable) that Sabean's butt is going to be on the unemployment line before the All-Star break.Hat Tip: ShysterBall:
Things were looking bleak early on as Derek Lowe gave up three quick runs in the 2nd inning as a result of two consecutive hits by Parra and Kendall. He finished the evening having given up four earned runs while striking out six.
The Dodger offense started off slow. Blake Dewitt homered in the 5th inning. A fielding error by Fielder gave the Dodgers another two runs to bring the Blue Crew to within one run. By the 9th inning the Brewers still held the lead by a score of 4 to 3.
This is the time when old Dodger star "Game Over" Gagne would come in and clean house for his new team. Fortunately, his poor season so far has relegated him to bench as the Brewers did not want him pitching for a third day in a row. Instead, former Dodger Guillermo Mota came in to try to close the door.
Dewitt came up first in the 9th inning and grounded out. Delwyn Young batted in place of Hu and fought to gain a walk. This was probably the key to the inning. His at-bat appeared to rattle Mota as he took the count full and fouled off numerous pitches. Ethier was next as he batted for the pitcher Broxton. He singled sharply down the right field line. Then, much maligned outfielder Juan Pierre, who had already recorded an RBI in the 7th inning, banged a deep drive to the the left-centerfield alley to score both Young and Ethier. The Dodgers now lead for the first time in the game, 5 to 4. Juan Pierre, no doubt the MVP for the evening, had three hits and 3 RBI's. He is now batting a healthy .293 for the season.
Saito was able to get the job done as he earned his 6th save of the year. Smiles were everywhere to be seen. Saito was smiling. Torre was smiling. Juan Pierre was smiling.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Video Link: ESPN:
Video Link: ESPN:
UPDATE: I ran across an usual signed ball that is very pertinent to yesterdays unassisted triple play. Below is Seth Swirsky's signed Baseball featuring the signatures of all 13 players (not including Cabrera) to achieve an unassisted triple play. This has to be one of the rarest odd-ball signed Baseballs in existence. On top of that, he also has the glove Jimmy Cooney used to perform the unassisted triple play in 1927. Check it out here.
As Jon of Dodger Thoughts points out, the last time we panicked over a middle infield injury we went after Julio Lugo. (We gave up highly touted prospect Joel Guzman and CSUF Alum Sergio Pedroza to get him.) Fortunately, neither of these guys have become Major League regulars yet so it hasn't hurt us, but it could easily become fodder for years to come. On the flip side, Lugo really didn't provide the kind of relief trading two perceived strong prospects would garner. The lesson we can learn here is not to panic. Don't start trading away our prospects for overpriced veterans. We still have a long way to go and I remain hopeful that within a couple of weeks Raffy will be back to his old self.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
- A's photographer Michael Zagaris has his own blog and shares some behind the scenes pics. Hat Tip: TasteLikeDirt:
- Former Dodger GM and current Padre Special Assistant for Baseball Operations Paul DePodesta has just started a blog called "It Might Be Dangerous... You Go First." (Hat Tip: Gas Lamp Ball)
- Mario recalls a moment with a Baseball groupie.
- I love the Antique Roadshow. There is something alluring about normal folks taking in their junk and finding out it's worth a fortune- or not. It's like a live lottery broadcast. Recently, they were in Louisville when a man brought in an autographed baseball of the World Championship 1919 Cincinnati Reds. See the video here. (Hat Tip: SCD:)
- Chile has been experiencing a massive volcanic explosion and Tillemann has pictures to prove it. Wow! (Hat Tip: Food In Mouth)
- The Jackie Robinson Court Martial file that I wrote about here is now up for auction through Memory Lane, Inc.
- If you read Beckett during the late 80's to early 90's then you have probably heard of Tommy Wheatley. He use to write a column, called "Kids Korner," in the magazine representing a voice of the teen Baseball card collector. Well, Hugging Harold Reynolds caught up with him a few months back and posted a 2 part interview with the kid many of us envied. Part 1, Part 2. (Hat Tip: Gem Mint Ten:)
- MSTI has started a campaign in favor of Dodgers AAA journeyman thirdbaseman Terry Tiffee. He's batting .475 with 118 at-bats so far this season.
- Doug Glanville writes about life and the curveball in the NYT.
What I found was that your approach doesn’t have to be any different from the one you use when dealing with — indulge me for a second — any other curveball life throws at you. We spend so much time cruising along, looking to hit the straight and dependable fastball, that the audacity of something different can cause us to forget any and every tactic that once gave us comfort and success.
In my 15 seasons of professional baseball, there were a lot of off-the-field curveballs to go with my game-time curveballs. On paper, a player’s ascension to the majors looks straightforward: you go from Single-A ball to Double-A ball to Triple-A ball to the big time. But in actuality, you can wake up and be traded away to another team at the drop of a hat, like I was once — two days before Christmas on the day my grandfather passed away.
- The Fleer Sticker Project introduces us to the cards of Lowell Palmer.
Friday, May 09, 2008
A hitter goes to the plate not to swing at just anything that might be in the strike zone but to swing only at those pitches in his own hot zone, at least early in the count. That usually means he's looking for a pitch in a specific quadrant of the strike zone.
By laying off anything outside that area, the hitter runs the risk of falling behind in the count. But he also greatly reduces the chance he will chase something that initially looks like a strike but ends up being far beyond the zone and far beyond hittable.
In an age when starting pitchers rarely are allowed to go much beyond 100 pitches, a frequent by-product of this approach to hitting is that opposing pitchers have to throw so many pitches to each batter that they reach their limits and must be lifted by the fifth or sixth inning. That gives the Dodgers a crack at hitting against what presumably is the weakest part of any team's staff - the middle relievers.
It's so simple and brilliant at the same time.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Paul Waner was elected into the Hall of Fame for collecting over 3,000 hits with 3 batting titles while batting a lifetime .333 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. By the time be came to the Dodgers he was in the twilight of his career. He played for us during parts of the 1941 season and from the 1943 to 1944. What he is most famous for, though, is not what you might expect.
(Waner was) famous for his ability to hit while hung over, when Waner gave up drinking in 1938 at management's request, he hit only .280 - the first of only two times that he failed to hit .300 as a Pirate. As Casey Stengel said in complimenting his base-running skills, "He had to be a very graceful player, because he could slide without breaking the bottle on his hip."
Waner was also nearsighted, a fact that Pirate management only learned late in his career when he remarked that he had difficulty reading the ads posted on the outfield walls. Fitting him with glasses, however, only interfered with his hitting, as Waner now had to contend with a small spinning projectile rather than the fuzzy grapefruit-sized object he had been hitting before.
Below is a photograph of Dodger Hall of Famer Zach Wheat from 1912. What I like about the photo is the uniforms. This style was only used during the 1912 season and features a Baseball diamond surrounding the Brooklyn "B" emblem hat and a white pinstripe jersey. It sold for $362.09.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Kemp led the National League with 11 RBI and six stolen bases and tied for the league-lead with 11 hits. The 23-year-old right fielder hit .407 (11-27) with four doubles, seven runs scored, a slugging percentage of .556 and an on-base percentage of .433. On May 2nd at , Kemp hit two 2-RBI doubles leading the Dodgers to an 11-6 victory and their seventh consecutive win. He recorded four multi-hit games and three multi-RBI games and hit safely in all six games played. This marks the first time that Matt has won weekly honors, and it is the first time that a Dodger has captured this recognition since Andre Ethier won in July 2006... Other nominees this past week included Kemp’s Dodger teammates (.393, 1 HR, 4 RBI) and (.563, 3 RBI)Pic Link: ThemBums:
The LAPD police & safety sets produced for the Dodgers are probably one of the most successful regional sets ever produced. They started in 1980 and ran for over 20 years. If I'm not mistaken, cards were available directly from police officers and police stations. Were sets also handed out at games too? Below are four cards from the 1982 Dodgers LAPD set that feature the Dodgers recent World Championship win from the previous year.
When I first saw this print on eBay last week I knew its made by Nicholas Volpe and I was hoping I was the only one who noticed it. Unfortunately, I wasn't. If you've been a long time Dodger fan then you know Volpe. His prints have graced the southland from the southern reaches of Orange County to the Central Valley Basin. Do you remember stopping into a Union 76 gas station in the 80's hoping to get that 9 1/2 x 11 inch picture of your favorite Dodger? I remember one year they had black backgrounds with color portrait paintings. In the 70's they made coffee cups with Volpe paintings on the surface. The below print is of Dodger broadcasters Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett. It was produced from 1958 to 1960 and were sold as a set of 16 at Dodger souvenir outlets. It sold for $52.51.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Below is one of my favorite prewar Baseball cards. Babe Ruth who is the "Sultan of Swat" is also the "prince of peace" as he holds a dove in front of the Yankee Stadium crowd. The unusual pose and that guy to Ruth's right make me crack up. What the heck is going on here? This card sold for $3,500.00.
Here is a 1953 press photo of the Dodgers most feared hitters. It includes Carl Furillo, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. $400.00 was the final bid.
This is a 1939 Press photo of an aging Joe Jackson as a liquor store proprietor on the 20th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal. As noted on the back by a reporter,
"Shoeless Joe Jackson ... 20 Years After"... whose legacy became "... one of the blackest blots on baseball history," and that "Jackson, with others, was convicted of accepting the bribes of gamblers to throw the game."This pic sold for $600.00.
What an important piece of American history. Below is a American Continental Congress lottery ticket sold in 1776 to help finance the revolution.
The lottery was calculated to yield substantial prizes for winners, and to provide a profit for the young nation's Treasury. Regrettably, the government actually wound up losing money on the proposition... The lottery was a well-intentioned building block conceived by the Continental Congress, but it unfortunately did not produce the reservoir of cash the body had hoped to generate.