Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blog Kiosk 6/29/2008

It seems that our pitching is turning the corner, when will our offense?

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.
(Hat Tip: Oliver Willis)

Card of the Week: Bert Blyleven

Things are a little blurry right now. The Dodgers beat the Angels last night without getting a hit. So, I know the Angels must be seeing doubles- heck quadruples. To commemorate the event please check out the above 1990 Upper Deck card featuring Bert Blyleven. This should be Hall of Famer is seen in a four frame superimposed photograph.

Video Highlights From Last Nights Game

19th Century Only Auction: Harry Wright

19th Century Only is one of my favorite sports collectibles auction houses. They always feature some great rare artifacts from Baseballs past. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of Dodger related items available, but there is an interesting studio cabinet of "The Father of Professional Baseball" Harry Wright. This cabinet photo is part of a set of 9 cards that feature members of the 1886 Philadelphia National league team. I'll let the auction description tell you all about Harry Wright.
Born in England, Wright came to America with his father who was well known as a Cricket player. Along with Harry's brothers Sam and George, the three sons took up the game of baseball when it began in America. Harry Wright became a pioneer of this new game. Harry joined the New York base ball club, the Knickerbockers. Backed by investors from Ohio, Wright formed the Cincinnati Red Stockings with his younger brother George. This was the first professional base ball club. This team went undefeated in 1869 with 65 wins and 0 losses. Wright managed the Boston Red Stockings in 1871 through 1875, the Boston Red Caps from 1867 through 1871, the Providence Grays from 1882 to1883, and the Philadelphia Quakers (Phillies) from 1884 through 1893. Harry Wright was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dodgers at the Coliseum 1958

We are enjoying the fruits that the greatest generation could provide. Housing is plentiful and affordable. Jobs are everywhere. It seems like everybody is getting a new car. Styles are elegant and daring. Not only that, the Dodgers have just come to Los Angeles. Finally, the City of Angels can step onto the giant stage and proclaim themselves a metropolis. We are now living in a city with its own Major League Baseball team. Those folks on the east coast can no longer wince at us. One of the most heralded franchises in sports history is ours and we are never going to let them leave.

It is August 1958 and the Dodgers are playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In your hands are the tickets, your lady friend - who you are lucky to be with - is at your side and your trusted new camera is loaded with film so as to be ready at a moments notice.

You walk along the street that heads towards the stadium and pause for a moment. Your best lady, dressed in a gown Vogue would be proud of, takes a couple of steps past you. She slowly turns and gives you a pose. Your hands are at the ready as you press the button and hear a click.
You are now within the stadium grounds. The growl of your stomach beckons to be satisfied.

You bellow, "we'll have a couple of hot dogs and cokes!"

Around the corner you spot the condiment table and wonder , "where's the ketchup?"

The field is as you remember it. The backstop rest far back along the tunnel. The press box hovers behind the fence as if suspended with wires. The visitor dugout looks empty, but you notice that the players are huddled in the shade. It's far too warm for our Northern California foes. We still have some time to finish our meal and take more pictures. Who knows? Maybe we can catch a glimpse of a Hollywood star.
The San Francisco Giants are in town this afternoon as you notice that the field is starting to fill up. The grass is not up to today's standards, but no one seems to care.
The fence in left field is a wonder to behold. Its tall wire mesh is the west coast version of Boston's "Green Monster."

What beautiful afternoon for a Baseball game.

Thanks again to Richard for providing the photos above. These are old stereo-slide pics which are smaller than the more common 35 mm seen today. Go ahead and click the photos for a larger view. Richard noted that the Coliseum was filled with wooden bench seating back then and his father recounted that they were awful to sit on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Game Highlights From Yesterday

Below is a video featuring game highlights of yesterdays loss to the White Sox.

eBay: The Rarest of the Rare- L1's

This post includes a collection of very rare vintage Baseball collectibles from the early part of the 20th century. Created in 1912 for the Helmar Tobacco Co. they were premium items that could be obtained only by sending in 50 coupons inserted into packs of Turkish Trophies cigarettes. Exceedingly rare and highly desirable they measure approximately 10" by 12" and feature drawings on leather of many of the great players of the day. They are designated and commonly known as "L1" in the standard catalog.

About a couple of weeks ago five of these treasures were sold on eBay. As expected they garnered plenty of attention from high-end collectors. Unfortunately, they were well out of my price range. Nevertheless, it's great seeing them. Below is Napoleon Lajoie and it sold for $8,350.00.

The below "Home Run" Baker sold for $6,056.00.

The only common in the bunch of Mike Mitchell sold for $1,800.00.

Grover Cleveland Alexander below sold for $10,098.00.

Hard nosed player and coach John McGraw sold for $8,056.00.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

eBay: A Mug, Radio, Banner and a Starting Lineup

Once again eBay is a treasure trove.

Below is a great rare beer mug from Don Drysdale's restaurant & bar in Van Nuys called the Dugout. It sold for a very affordable $9.99. Below is an interesting story concerning the Dugout.
Before the 1966 season, as Drysdale and his fellow pitcher Sandy Koufax held out together to pressure the Dodgers for more money, the Dugout received some unwanted publicity when the restaurant's employees demanded higher pay.
This radio must be rare. About a month ago the below vintage Dodgers/ Pepsi souvenir transistor radio sold on eBay for $61.00. I don't know if it was a stadium give-away or a promotional mail away item through Pepsi, but three bidders battled to outdo each other. It looks to be in pristine working condition and probably dates to the 1960's. Heck, maybe it's something that dates all the way back to the Coliseum.
eBay Auction link: Vintage Dodger Transistor Radio:

This is an incredibly rare official banner celebrating the Dodgers 1981 World Series Championship. The seller says it comes directly from the collection of a Vice President of the Dodgers in charge of Stadium Operations. It sold for $408.00 and is one of two given to the Dodgers.
eBay Auction Link: 1981 World Series Banner:

I use to love these sports figures. I would run over to the local Toy's R Us and cruise through the aisles searching for my favorite players. Unfortunately, several of the players in the 1989 set ended up being short printed including this Dodger favorite Mike Scioscia. I could never find this one. It sold for a lofty $84.75. What's great about this piece is that it still comes in its original packaging which I'm sure is the reason for the high price. If I had bought this, though, I could not stop myself from opening it up.

Nomar's Carne Asada Sunday

This past Sunday was Nomar's Carne Asada Day at Dodger Stadium and Robert of "Trolley Dodger Blog" was there for the festivities. If I had known this was on Sunday I would not have turned down tickets for that afternoon. With oppressive heat expected that day I decided that my couch would be a more comfortable place to see the game. Oh well!

Fortunately, Robert has a great post with details and pictures. Go here to check them out. Nomar went well out of his way to greet the fans and even posed with everyone there.

Another blogger, Roberto of "Blogging Dodgers and Baseball" has a video from the event. Go and check his post here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In Honor of George Carlin

George Carlin was the best comedian I've ever had an opportunity to see. I'll miss his sharp wit and social commentary. Below is a great tribute featuring some of his greatest routines that was created in his honor.

YouTube Link: LordoftheJimmy:

The Other Side of Wrigley Field

Los Angeles sure use to look different in the 50's. Below is a great vintage photo, courtesy of Richard, of an old LA trolley car near Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. It's hard to believe the city use to be connected by a public transportation system rivaling any modern town at the time. I'm sure we all wish something like this existed today. It probably would have been well extended by now to include other local counties. Fortunately, the rail lines are just starting to come into their own and will hopefully expand to other areas of the Southland. It's about time.

Wrigley Field can be spotted in the background by its tall clock tower and multiple lights along the 1st base line. It would have been great symbolism to have the original Trolley Dodgers play here for a season. Baseball fans could have done their best Brooklyn impressions by dodging trains while getting to the game.

I love that billboard on the top left advertising an ale called Burgermeister. Has anyone every heard of this beer? It sure doesn't sound too appetizing.
Below is a view from the clock tower at Wrigley Field. Unfortunately, it's a view of destruction. Wrigley Field is being torn torn down and we get a wide view of the occasion. The beginnings of the Los Angeles skyline can be seen in the distance.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

WooHoo Dodgers Win!

This was a hard fought battle. The Dodgers came screaming out of the gate by scoring 4 big runs in the 1st inning on a 2 run double by Loney and a 2 run homerun by Russell Martin. Unfortunately, an initially hittable Paul Byrd righted his ship. Byrd finished the game by pitching 7 strong innings. For the remainder of the game the Dodgers would scatter just 5 more hits and would score no more runs. They could only get a man to thirdbase twice the last 7 times up to bat.

With Chad Billingsley on the mound the whole stadium was hoping that he could hold on. Would the abusive Summer heat drain all of his energy? Can the Dodgers pull this out? His curve ball wasn't sharp so the Indians batters starting sitting on the fastball. Chad gave up 8 hits. He lasted only 5 innings, but would give up only 3 runs. Can the one run lead hold up?

The relief corps had to bear down. Averting a sweep was a must and we all knew they would be the key. They battled and clawed through the suppressive heat to pitch 4 scoreless innings. Kou, Beimel, Broxton and Saito closed the doors. Only one hit was given up between the 4 of them. They showed us what this team can accomplish. If only the team can show a little bit of consistency. Nevertheless, this was a well earned victory. Dodgers 4, Indians 3.

Watch highlights below.

Blog Kiosk 6/22/2008

In these lazy heat-filled days of summer it makes more sense to just watch the games on the TV.

YouTube Video Link: Will It Blend:

YouTube Link: Diminished Capacity:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Card of the Week: Nolan Ryan

In 1989, Upper Deck ushered in a new era for Baseball cards. They had clean white borders made with thick glossy cardboard. For the first time a major set had color photos on both the front and back of the card. A unique diamond shaped hologram was placed on the rear to insure its authenticity. The design was simple and clean. I consider it one of the great Baseball sets of my generation.

When most people think of this set Ken Griffey Jr. immediately comes to mind. As written about recently by Slate reporter Darren Rovell, his rookie card in that set is considered one of the great cards of the 80's, if not the entire history of the hobby. That card, numbered #1, was one of the hottest cards in the market. They sold for hundreds of dollars and caused grown men to go crazy.

Another card in that set that caused just as much fanfare, albeit without the huge price spike, is the above Nolan Ryan card. Numbered #774, it was a part of a 100 card update set released towards the end of the year.

Everyone wanted this card. I remember selling them for as much as $20.00 a piece. The strange thing about it, though, was that it wasn't particularly rare. Nor was it a rookie card for this soon to be Hall of Famer. Instead, collectors just plain loved the card.

It was seen as unique and special. A card showing Nolan Ryan throwing a football was a perfect match. After all, we all knew that if Ryan hadn't played Baseball he would have been quarterback for the Cowboys. Of course, if he hadn't played Baseball we never would've seen him headlock Robin Ventura and we all would be worse off for that. Nolan Ryan was the symbol of aging gracefully at a time when old men wanted to relive their youth. He aged with both pride and toughness and this card epitomized that idea.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dodger Turmoil?

I'm not sure what to make of this, but the Dodgers coaching crew and their struggle with its young players was the subject of an ESPN story this morning. They even speculate that Torre may only stay in LA for one year.

Frankly, I think this is a made up controversy. Sure, the team is struggling, but give them time to build a culture of winning. It can't be done overnight, or even over several months of the season. They must grow into it and it is my hope that Torre and crew can help facilitate that. Patience really is a virtue.

More Wrigley Field Pics

Thank goodness for Richard. I've been posting sporadically the past week or so as writers block set in. I don't know if it's the poor play of the Dodgers or the recent run by the Lakers for a lost championship, but I just haven't had much to say. Thankfully, Richard has momentarily broken my slump with a slew of vintage Southland photos. Below are some incredible pics of LA's Wrigley Field in an exhibition game featuring the New York Yankees.
What a great find. Above is Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. He's in full gait as he slowly heads toward the dugout. Click on the pic for a closer view. Number 15, who I think is Tommy Henrich, is warming up before the game.
Above and below more Yankees are seen warming up along foul territory. The stadium grandstands are just starting to fill up.
The game has started and an unknown Yankee is up to bat. He looks very strange with his baggy uniform three sizes too large and pants pulled up beyond his belly button. I guess on the Yankees one size fits all so the small guys get to look like a vintage version of D'Ali G during games. On the other hand, maybe this is a indication of the natural evolution of sports fashion that soon is emulated by popular culture. Baggy clothes are still quite the rave, aren't they? The crowd is transfixed on the action. The catcher is crouched as if the pitch is in mid flight. I love the fact that you can see the crowd in both the background and foreground.

UPDATE: Sarsfield in the comments points out that the unknown player is Phil Rizzuto.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Russell Needs Our Help

Imagine my dismay when I saw Ken Gurnick's story about Russell Martin's bid to make the All-Star Team this year. He is currently fifth in total voting for the catcher position. How is that possible?

It is time for the Dodger faithful to stand up and show some pride. Sure, the season has not been, so far, what we had all hoped. Our team is struggling at the plate and ailing on the mound. That is no reason to slight our greatest asset. Russell Martin has done everything expected of him and then some. We need to bear down, get on our computers and vote for the man most deserving of the starting catchers gig at the All-Star Game this season in New York.

Vote now and Vote often.

Click Here To Vote.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blog Kiosk 6/15/2008


OK. Let me explain the above line. You see, I lost a bet and sometimes you gotta suck it up and pay off. Unfortunately, this bet didn't have money involved, but consist of some active participation. I've done this many times in my life. In high school I played the Wolverine fight song on a trombone after UofM beat USC in the Rose Bowl. Last year I wore the cheesiest Anaheim Ducks tie to work for a week after their Stanley Cup win. (That was a terribly harrowing experience than would be akin to wearing a Giants tie to Dodger fans) I never seem to learn my lesson. Now on to this weeks links.

Card of the Week: Frank Thomas

What can I say about the above card? The once surly White Sox slugger lets the photographer know what he thinks and Topps decides to put it in their 1994 Stadium Club set.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mastro June Auction

Mastro always has some great vintage material to look through. This month's auction is no different.

Below is a fantastic rare relic featuring the Dodgers first year as a professional team, in 1884. It is a actual scorecard of an exhibition game featuring the Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers and the Wilmington Quicksteps.
This was likely an exhibition game as the Wilmington nine were franchised with the one-year Union Association while the Brooklyns had just debuted that season in the American Association. We know that the game was played on September 20th that year, and the tilt was characterized by a total of 20 errors—grim testimony to the primitive equipment then available.
The greatest thing about scorecards is how you can literally follow the entire game by reading the card. You know what the lineup was, what happened every inning, who got the winning hit and who won the game. It's like you're able to enjoy a game that was played well over 100 years ago. Unfortunately, in this match the Dodgers lost to the Quicksteps 4 to 2.

Below is an original Dick Perez watercolor painting of Dodger great Don Drysdale. The painting is made famous because of its use in the very popular Perez-Steele Hall of Fame "Art Postcard" series. Those postcards are highly desirable and rank as one of the most sought after postcard sets in the hobby. Collectors often will try to get as many of the cards autographed as possible since they display so well. In fact, I have several autographed Perez-Steele postcards in my own collection; including, Duke Snider, Yogi Berra and Ray Dandridge. They are a great set with great paintings, and this original painting is amazing. What I would do to have this hanging on my wall.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Videos: Nomo and Mr. Ed Vs. Koufax

Here are some vintage videos of Hideo Nomo and some MLB All Stars facing Kazuo Matsui and the Japanese All Stars in Japan in 1996. I don't remember this game at all.

YouTube Link: hirosea96:

Here he is against Hideki Matsui. Part 1.

YouTube Link: hirosea96:
Part 2.

YouTube Link: hirosea96:

The Faux Show LA takes in a Dodger game.

YouTube Link: thefauxshowla:

You gotta check this out. Mr. Ed hits a homerun against Sandy Koufax.

YouTube Link: georgecf:

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Blog Kiosk 6/8/2008

I already find myself missing hockey. Congratulations to the Red Wings on their Stanley Cup victory, but please be more careful with the cup. OK. I've got tickets to Frozen Fury and I cant wait to go. Three and a half months is too long a time to wait.

YouTube Link: lemonsters2008:
Hat Tip: For The Love Of Baseball: Tatiana:

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Card of the Week: Bob Ojeda and Tommy Lasorda

Bobby Ojeda was a starter for the Dodgers for two years, from 1991-1992. He pitched in 60 games and recorded a career Dodger record of 18-18 with 4 complete games and 2 shutouts. He was a back of the rotation starter who provided a no thrills effort. He was effective while not spectacular. He had an ERA of 3.18 and 3.63 while with the Dodgers in 1991 and 1992, respectively. The above card was made by Upper Deck in 1992 and features Bobby Ojeda receiving a personalized pitching lesson from Tommy Lasorda. Bobby has a funny look on his face as Tommy works with his grip. Maybe Tommy made some wisecrack comment that cannot be printed in most newspapers. Nevertheless, Lasorda looks like he's screaming and Bobby can hardly keep from laughing.

Videos: Penny and Torre on Racing

Here are a series of videos featuring an interview with Brad Penny from TVG about the horses.

YouTube Link: tvgnetwork:

YouTube Link: tvgnetwork:

Here is Joe Torre and Penny with TVG talking about horse racing.

YouTube Link: tvgnetwork:

Now Sweet Lou Johnson and Penny talk about Big Brown.

YouTube Link: tvgnetwork:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Collection: 1979 Clinton Dodgers

I have always loved minor league baseball cards. They feature the portraits of budding young dreamers who are just on their way up hoping for a chance to prove themselves. Many are fresh out of high school and not yet straddled by the rigors of regular life. After all, they play Baseball for a living- a game passed down from generation to generation over the last 100+ years. They travel the countryside from one town to another entertaining us with their skill with the bat and ball. It's a life many of us can only fantasize about. The cards here are from 1979 and feature the Dodgers single A ballclub in Clinton, Iowa- Clinton Dodgers.
As you can see, this team features several future major league players. Steve Sax with his steely stare is joined by his brother Dave on the team. Mr. slow-motion hurler Alejandro Pena is shown in his wind-up while Candy Maldonado gazes at the camera blankly. See the rest of the set here, including Dave Sax's card.
Photo Album: Minor League Set:

Guernsey's Will Hold Special Auction During All Star Weekend

Guernsey's, famous in the collecting world for holding the 1989 Topps archive auction, will be holding a special auction during MLB's All Star Weekend featuring the 1912 Boston World Series trophy.
Guernsey's is pleased to be the auction house chosen to represent a unique piece of baseball history, one of very few World Series trophies to remain in private hands. Predating the days when Major League Baseball provided an official World Series trophy, the 1912 Boston Red Sox team purchased this sterling silver trophy to honor their teammate and manager, Jake Stahl. Remaining in the Stahl family for the better part of a century, and now the property of a collector, the cup will find a new owner this Summer. Bidders have a chance to own an incredible piece of baseball history.
This is an incredible piece of Baseball history. I'll let the auction description speak for itself.

The first major league baseball game to be played at Fenway Park took place on April 20, 1912, between the Red Sox and the New York Highlanders (who later became the Yankees). The Sox launched their new ballpark with a rousing 7-6 win. As the season progressed, that winning streak continued, with the Sox and their ever-present “Royal Rooters” - led by Boston Mayor (and grandfather to President John F. Kennedy) John “Honey-Fitz” Fitzgerald and local tavern owner and Red Sox fanatic Michael T. “Nuf-Ced” McGreevy - marching towards the American League Championship and the World Series with a regular season record of 105-47. The 1912 roster included National Baseball Hall of Famers Harry Hooper and Tris Speaker, and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famers Bill Carrigan, Larry Gardner, Duffy Lewis and Smokey Joe Wood.

Though the Sox emerged as eventual champions, the 1912 World Series was a real nail-biter, with the Sox clinching it only after reaching extra innings in an unexpected eighth game. Indeed, the 1912 Series is the only “best of seven” World Series to require an eighth game. (Game two ended in a tie, called on account of darkness after eleven innings.) Four of the eight games were decided by a single run, and two games went into extra innings. This historic showdown also marks the first time a World Series was decided in the last inning of the final game, or “sudden death.” John B. Forster, writing in the 1913 Spalding's Official Baseball Guide had this to say about the series: “No individual, whether player, manager, owner, critic or spectator, who went through the world's series of 1912 ever will forget it. There never was another like it.”

Above is an original Carl Horner photograph featuring the the trophy and the 1912 Boston Red Sox team.

Dodgers Draft Andy "Pullman" Porter

I can't believe I forgot about this. Thanks to Orel from the Sons of Steve Garvey we find out about the 2008 MLB fantasy draft of surviving former Negro League Players. Every team participated and the Dodgers chose Andrew "Pullman" Porter. Here is a complete list of draftees.

He wasn't altogether sure, though, how best to push for those men whose careers never took them to the Majors because of the color barrier that blocked their path.

Having mulled a couple of ideas, Winfield decided on one that he thought would serve as a salute to O'Neil and the brethren he left behind.

Winfield proposed holding a ceremonial Draft on Thursday for surviving players from the Negro Leagues. The Draft would be a way for Major League teams to connect the past with the present.

Thank you Dave Winfield for making this happen. The postcard above was produced in 1991 and comes from a 100 card set featuring Negro League players. Andy Porter is the third person on the left. It has been signed by the new Dodger.